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scene

A Perry good night

| Monday, April 18, 2016

PerryGoodNight_WEBLAUREN WELDON | The Observer

‘Tis the season for closet country fans to climb out of hibernation and prepare for quintessentially American music. I can think of no better way to kickoff the summer season than country music — specifically, through The Band Perry.

The trio of siblings — Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry — gave a low-key performance at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, Michigan, this past Friday night. With a limited number of seating, audience members filed in and took their respective seats — none of which were nosebleeds.

The small-scale seating arrangement had no effect on the crowd’s vigor.

Audience members sang and danced as the band played some of their most popular hits. From “If I Die Young” to “Done,” the Perry siblings drew lots of energy through each performance, urging us all to sing and dance alongside them. They even performed mash-ups of “Sweet Dreams,” “Sexy Back,” “Crazy” and “Love Yourself.” Though I didn’t feel comfortable standing up until people around me started the trend, I enjoyed jumping with the band and trying to mimic their choreography — or as Kimberly called it, their “forward motion together.”

The band could have made the concert as low-key and as somber as they liked. After walking into the small venue, I thought they’d give a coffee-house style performance — contradictory to dance-all-night, bang-your-head, wish-your-wife-hadn’t-left-you country concerts.

They shocked me by doing everything right.

Between each song — whether original or covered — the band shared a story about their journey. From stories about their reactions to “If I Die Young” reaching top charts in Malaysia to discussing their constant adjustment to country music’s ever-changing presence in the music industry, the Perry siblings let us into their lives.

As they said many times throughout the concert, “We’re in this life together.”

Cheesy or not, I felt included during the entire performance. Each song carried a relatable message. Though many lyrics were stereotypically country — “Here lies the girl whose only crutch was loving one man just a little too much” — lovers of all genres could somehow place themselves in the band’s shoes.

Ironically, they took each song both seriously and light-heartedly. Before performing “Better Dig Two,” Kimberly told the audience that she loved writing the song, since everyone could relate to loving a person a little too much. Right after that, though, she warned any engaged man in the audience that if his fiancée played the song on their wedding day, he’d have the band’s approval to leave her immediately.

Their main message: learn to laugh at yourself … even if you’ve written a chart-topper.

After playing their most popular hits, the band introduced a few new songs — each prefaced with a small anecdote of its meaning.

With ever-present changes in the country music industry — particularly the shift from twang to pop — The Band Perry made great strides both to progress and to maintain character.

You could heard a difference between their old and new songs, but their messages stayed the same: Everyone has rough patches, but together, we can all make it through.

With that said, it didn’t matter how “new” the songs sounded: The Band Perry stayed true to themselves through the fame, through the changes and through the constant pressure to write hits.

The band knew how to excite a crowd. They knew how to maximize space. They knew how to make it a Perry great night.

About Kathy Minko

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