The hook is simple: Five, all-male, musically inclined Lady Gaga fans convert the pop queen's four-on-the-floor anthems into glam rock and name it Rad Bromance.
It's a flashy act, but strip away the glitter and lead singer Ryan Shtainhorn's skin-tight outfit, and what remains is a Philadelphia tribute band able to morph Gaga songs into a hybrid of flamboyant showmanship, pop-punk breakdowns and enough dance-thump to get a crowd moving.
Rad Bromance's Monster Balls Tour stops by The Ottobar Saturday, marking the band's first all-ages show in Maryland. Dan Geraghty, the Clarksville-born, 18-year-old guitarist, spoke on the phone about the group's influences, misconceptions and, of course, Gaga.
First, the obvious question: Why Gaga?
We get this a lot. Basically, there are so many Top 40 artists out there, but she's doing something completely different and she has been since the day she started. Her music is interesting and hard to figure out. [The songs have] a lot of parts. … She has a crazy legion of fans, what she calls "Little Monsters." It's a cult following and it's really easy being a tribute band to Lady Gaga [because] her fans want to see anything related to her. They come to the show and dress up. They're awesome fans. She's probably one of the most popular, if not the most popular artist in the game.
I watched a live Rad Bromance video on YouTube and there were obvious nods to hard rock and even a metal/hardcore-style breakdown. What are the band's influences other than Gaga?
We all grew up listening to classic rock and Van Halen and shred-stuff like that. Those are our roots. We all have our own individual tastes … a pop-punk thing, heavier stuff. We take from everything. There's something there for everyone. People that just like Lady Gaga will like it because it's Gaga, but hard rock fans will recognize the breakdowns.
If we have to describe it, it'd be Van Halen playing Lady Gaga songs, just more modern and a little dancey.
Is the set list mostly Fame Monster tracks or are you incorporating Born This Way cuts?
We always play all the hit singles — every song that's ever been on the radio. We're doing a lot of songs from Born This Way. We like to do a few deep cuts for all the diehards that come out. We always try to throw those in because her fans always appreciate them. We're doing a good amount of songs from the new album.
Ryan dresses more like Gaga than the rest of you. Has he thought about performing in a meat dress? Is he constructing a giant egg to arrive to the stage in?
There might be a few surprises on tour. Maybe not regarding those two [spectacles] but something like that. He's donned some crazier outfits in the last couple weeks. I don't want to give anything away. You'll have to come to the show and see.
What's the biggest misconception about Gaga?
The biggest misconception is that she doesn't write her songs like the other pop stars today. She writes and produces. She does a lot with her own songs.
OK, and the biggest misconception about Rad Bromance?
Everyone thinks it's a really big gay spectacle with a ton of drag queens. There are PG-13 elements, but it's a toned down, family-friendly version of Gaga.
If you go: Rad Bromance plays The Ottobar, 2549 N. Howard St., on Saturday. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 410-662-0069 or go to theottobar.com.