Sure, New Year's Eve has come and gone and left some exhausted. For others, however, it may have recharged the batteries and left you wanting more. In reflection, some of us may miss the days of our youth and wish we could relive them one more time. Whatever the case, there's one party band in town that can cure both ailments at once.
Dressed with talent, huge chops and a sense of humor, Dead Metal Society(DMS) picks up the party rock mantle and runs with it. If you loved the '80s and hair metal, DMS recreates the vibe complete with showmanship and great musicianship and enough tongue in cheek attitude to keep it fun but not turn it into pure camp.
Tulsa has gone through its cycle of '80s tribute and cover bands and most of them were fun, if not totally on the mark at all times. Octane Blue has split the difference, mixing decades and a healthy dose of '80s rock and metal to keep moving forward while Jukebox Hero and Dr. Squeelsgood have come and gone as members departed for other projects. Out of all of them, though, Dead Metal Society has proven to be the most direct and accurate tribute band in town, focusing specifically on '80s hair metal.
One glimpse at the band's song catalogue tells you all you need to know about DMS: Def Leppard, Kiss, Poison, Dokken, Ratt, Skid Row, Motley Crue, Guns 'n' Roses and Scorpions are amongst the '80s metal staples that crowd the list. Don't show up expecting Duran Duran or Michael Jackson, because they aren't part of the show. This band is all about recreating big guitars, booming drums, screeching vocals and above all else, having a good time.
Not just anyone can recreate these songs and do it well, however. For all of the bombast, excess and cheesiness that became a signature of '80s hair metal, there was also a level of musicianship that separated it from pop and new wave peers and Dead Metal Society steps up with enough talent to match it, lick for lick.
When you think hair metal, the first thing you think of is big guitars and DMS puts them out front and center with Mark Mortenson and Ben Hosterman splitting duties. Mortenson has played in a number of bands, including Rude Jester and Sybil's Machine, but is probably best known as guitarist for Imzadi for the past 11 years. Hosterman has perhaps a more colorful and diverse history, which includes membership in Mad Verb, New Science and The Element. As current lead guitarist for RadioRadio, Hosterman gets to display his more melodic and commercial sensibilities while DMS gives him an outlet to let fly with more guitar histrionics.
Lead vocalist Todd Edwards previously fronted The Element, amongst a handful of other bands, and proves to be the perfect voice for DMS. His balance of growl and singing matches the set list perfectly, but more importantly, he's got the stage presence and swagger to match, allowing him to engage an audience and keep them involved throughout the show.
Finally, the rhythm section is comprised of "Nine" (Brian Kirk) on bass and Jason Gilardi on drums. Nine's history includes a short tenure in Rude Jester with Mortensen in the early '90s and over a decade serving as bassist a leader of The Mourning Tree. Gilardi is best known for his time in Caroline's Spine, although he has also been active in a number of other bands including New Science, Zac Maloy Band and Dogsway. Together, the two lay down a heavy foundation and enough energy to propel Dead Metal Society in the right direction.
Even with the high level of musicianship, what really sets Dead Metal Society apart from its peers, however, is the chemistry within the band. It's not just a matter of playing well together, but a sense of fun and enjoyment that comes across. Yes, DMS takes this music seriously, but not too seriously. Above and beyond all else, '80s hair metal was about having fun and the guys in DMS don't forget that.
Every show is a party and you can tell that these guys not only enjoy playing this music, but enjoy playing together. This isn't just another gig, it's an outlet for everyone in the band and that unbridled energy comes across every time they take the stage together.
At the same time, the band realizes that part of keeping things fresh and fun is not playing too often. An average of two shows a month allows the members to focus on their other endeavors and bands and still grow the group's following in the process. At the same time it also helps create more demand as the band hasn't oversaturated the market or seen the novelty factor as an '80s hair metal tribute band wear thin.
More than anything, Dead Metal Society has proven to be one of the best party bands in Tulsa over the past couple of years, appealing to a cross section of fans ranging from '80s fans to people just looking for a good time. When a band delivers a high-energy show like DMS does, you can't help but have a good time. And if you loved the '80s and hair metal, it's a can't miss show.
2012 promises to be a busy year for Dead Metal Society as the band already has dates booked out into July, but you don't have to wait to join the fun. DMS brings its show to Friction at the Hard Rock Casino this Friday night, Jan. 6 to kick off the New Year with an '80s blowout and party to set the tone for the year to come.
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