Spotlight On: Bang Bang Boss Kelly

Bang Bang Boss Kelly
Image Courtesy of Bang Bang Boss Kelly

The popularity of Mumford and Sons must be both a blessing and a curse for aspiring banjo driven nu-folk acts. A blessing because it has dragged the genre into the spotlight and everyone is looking for the next Mumford. A curse because inevitably any band that even slightly resembles the London quartet is going to be instantly compared.

Take Bang Bang Boss Kelly for instance. The band is heavy on the acoustic guitar, the banjo and the harmonies just like their English counterparts. Every article I read about them (including this one, ironically) has at least a passing reference to Mumford and Sons. But while there’s an unmistakable similarity in sound between the two groups they are, in my opinion, two very different beasts.

Rather than beginning from folk base and working through to a pop-rock sound, Bang Bang Boss Kelly’s influences are very heavily rooted in classic American rock. The band is more Bruce Springsteen or John Cougar Mellencamp with banjos than The Pogues or Fairport Convention. Made up of Chris Drage (banjo, lead vocals), Alex Henriksson (guitar, vocals) Nate Webb (guitar), Peter “Boz” Bosworth (drums, vocals) Rob Smith (bass), all five members are ex hard-core musicians and while Bang Bang Boss Kelly is on the softer side you can definitely hear their former genre coming through.

Bang Bang Boss Kelly’s music is very raw and raucous. The melodies are frantic and the bass drum gets a work out on all of their tracks. Lead singer Cris Drage’s voice sounds like Ben Lee has smoked too many cigarettes and had too many nights on the Jack Daniels. At times Drage’s pitch is out but the rollicking tunes pull him along and you quickly ignore the flaws in favour of the thigh-slapping goodness that comes from the band’s music.

Bang Bang Boss Kelly are currently touring, doing a bunch of dates with everyone’s favourite follicle-themed band The Beards (check out the gig guide for details). If you’re a fan of banjo driven rock check out the band’s Myspace or the clip below.

Country of Origin: Australia
Sounds Like: Ben Lee drank too much whiskey and joined Mumford and Sons
File Under: Nu-Folk


  1. August 22, 2010 at 10:47

    thanks for the review, pretty cool
    the lead singer is alex henriksson, but chris also sings

  2. April 12, 2011 at 15:41

    […] already brought you the celtic-punk stylings of The Thieves. Brisbane’s Bang Bang Boss Kelly have been amping up the punk side of their sound with the release of their new single “Damien […]

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