In a sea of same ol' same ol' tribute acts touring the U.S., a few stand out as something quite original. Case in point: Rad Bromance, a Philadelphia-based all male tribute to Lady Gaga. This boy band gone horribly wrong is on an extensive U.S. tour and will make a stop at the Island Bar & Grill in Surfside Beach on Friday, so get your meat dresses, egg coffins and your poker face ready.
Complete with a glittery front man, known as Ryan Gaga, the five piece act made up of guys aged 17 - 20 have found unexpected success and mounting critical acclaim after several sold-out shows and the band's hard rock covers of Lady Gaga's biggest hits. It's novel, for sure. But is it good? Some 3,000 Facebook users so far are "liking" the band and its concept. Gaga fans and haters alike are invited to the Island Bar & Grill in Surfside Beach for this 18-and-older show starting at 10 p.m. Friday also featuring Death of Paris and See Camden, a band on tour with Rad Bromance. A $5 cover will be charged at the door.
Everything about the band is a parody, from the name, a spin on Gaga's hit "Bad Romance," to the name of the summer tour "Monster Balls," an obvious spin on Gaga's 2009 Monster Ball tour, but this is not a tribute band in traditional sense, at least not one that tries to recreate a superstar's look and act, detail to detail, and note for note . For starters, the lead vocalist is a dude, and the instrumentation and arrangements are different than on the diva's hits. We caught up with Rad Bromance guitarist Chris Greatti between shows to find out just where the project came from and what inspired the choice to go Gaga.
"We're from all over the place, but we're based out of Philly," said Greatti from his van full of bros, which was en route to San Antonio, Texas. "It kind of started as a joke - the bass player Brad [Bowers] switched the B and the R in "Bad Romance" and came up with this funny name." Bowers and a few others thought it would be fun and funny to put together some "goofy shows," he said, and one thing led to another. A few versions of the band, which formed in 2009, have performed, according to Greatti, who joined a later version. "Two kids got kicked out for being weird," he said which prompted the rhetorical question; "How weird do you have to be to get kicked out of an all-male Lady Gaga tribute act?"
"We got serious last summer," added Greatti, with another odd comment about a band of boys deciding to tour on Lady Gaga material, and calling it "serious." "Some people hear 'all male' and think we're like drag queens," he laughed, "which we're not at all." Another small bit of confusion comes from the viral YouTube hit "Rad Bromance" featuring a comedy parody that's received more than 14-million views, and is not associated with the band. "It's mainly the singer that dresses up in interesting [costumes]," said Greatti. "The rest of us all wear black. There's some choreography, we put on a good show that's quite an experience. We're all Gaga fans. I think she's a very talented musician, creative singer and songwriter. We're the only all-male Lady Gaga tribute act that I know of. Who else would do this?"
The Beatles get churched
And speaking of tributes, The Return, yet another Beatles homage, will make a one-night only appearance 7 p.m. Saturday at Beach Church in Myrtle Beach, a former commercial theater at Fantasy Harbour. Not to be confused with the ongoing Beatlemania Now, staged at Carolina Opry, The Return is a tribute act which focuses only on The Beatles' live years (1961 - 1966), which means mostly dark suits, skinny ties, mop-tops, and hits up through and including those from "Rubber Soul." The show is a fundraising effort for the Little River Medical Center, a clinic that offers healthcare to families regardless of their ability to pay. Tickets are $25, available at the door, and at the four LRMC facilities in Loris, Little River, North Myrtle Beach, and Myrtle Beach. Call 663-1013, ext. 23 for more information.
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