$7, 10pm Friday, July 15
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Germans and country rock? Not the most typical combination, but it seems to work well for the Berlin-based band the BossHoss. They started out in 2004 primarily as a cover band, transforming pop songs into their own brand of country, and have since greatly expanded to write their own music and win over crowds across Germany and Europe. Gordon Raphael, famed producer of the Strokes — who also has a studio in Berlin — doesn’t consider himself a fan, but says, “They are for sure the most successful and popular band in Berlin ... I think it’s the only band that makes any money!” The band has produced three gold and one platinum album and has sold out some of the bigger concert halls and opera houses across Germany and Europe. Onstage, these Germans play the part of cowboys, wearing Stetsons, plenty of denim, and tank tops. All seven members of the band also have stage names (Hoss Power, Boss Burns, and Hank Williamson, to name a few). The BossHoss asserts their right to take part in the time-honored, American tradition of country music, and the quality of their playing allows them to do so.
Their covers of “Hot in Herre” by Nelly and “Word Up” by Korn are especially noteworthy. Fully equipped with upright bass and acoustic and electric guitars, “Hot in Herre” begins like Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away” and continues into a pyschobilly jam. “Word Up” becomes more honky-tonk than hard rock, the result of a washboard solo, country vocals, and twangy, electric guitar. Besides their covers, BossHoss has written some powerful originals. Their anthemic single “Rodeo Radio” is about life on the road and partying. The lead vocalists split the verses, creating a story-like dialogue, while the acoustic and electric guitars provide a solid rock ’n’ roll foundation.
“My inspiration is mainly in the past,” says vocalist and acoustic guitarist Sascha Vollmer, aka Hoss Power, one of the band’s two singers, a fan of ’40s and’50s blues, rockabilly, and country music. “[But] rock ’n’ roll, especially AC/DC, is also pretty big for me … Elvis Presley is a big influence on the way I write and want to write songs. We are also big fans of Queens of the Stone Age and other modern rock bands, and we mix all that with punk.”
It is that raw mixture that the BossHoss is bringing to the United States for the first time in a small, three-date Texas tour. Being European and bringing country music to Texas is a daunting task, but the band is eager to take it on.
“We are very excited to come to Texas and see what people think of our way of playing country music,” says Hoss Power. “We are going to do well because it’s our own way of playing this kind of music … It’s a good mixture and I think it’s going to go down very well.” •
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