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“Turning Over a New Leaf”: The Band Perry LIVE! at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino

By Spotlight Central. Photos by Love Imagery

The audience inside the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s Soundwaves theater in Atlantic City, NJ anxiously awaits an appearance by The Band Perry on their Coordinates tour this breezy May 10, 2019 evening.

The Band Perry is a country/pop group comprised of three musical siblings: Kimberly Perry on lead vocals and guitar; Reid Perry on vocals, bass, and keyboards; and Neil Perry on vocals and keyboards.

As a teenager, Kimberly Perry sang in a band for which her younger brothers, Neil and Reid, worked as roadies. At the ages of 8 and 10, the brothers began performing as an opening act for Kimberly appearing as The Mobile Music Machines. Once the trio of siblings decided to form The Band Perry in 2005, they went out on the road as part of the New Faces of Country Tour. Three years later, they were discovered by Garth Brooks’ manager who helped them secure a deal with Republic Nashville, a label which in 2010 released the group’s self-titled debut album. With singles like “If I Die Young,” the album shot to #1 on the Billboard country music chart and was also certified platinum six times over.

In 2013, the siblings completed their second album, Pioneer, which reached the #2 spot on the all-genre Billboard Top 200 album chart on the strength of such popular crossover singles as “Better Dig Two” and “Done.”

In 2016, Kimberly, Neil, and Reid parted ways with their record label and began the transition over to pop music; by 2018, they had independently released a five-song techno-pop EP entitled Coordinates. Said Kimberly Perry about their change in musical direction, “We’re not just on this money train. We’re not on the hit train. We’re on the ‘connecting with people and giving them a feeling that matters’ train,” noting, “We paid a hefty price, financially… actually buying our way out of fame and the comfort of trajectory to be able to protect integrity, art and what I think brought us to the dance in the first place — which is being ourselves.”

Outisde the Soundwaves concert venue, before the show starts, we take a moment to chat with several music lovers about tonight’s headliners — The Band Perry.

Comments Erin from Marlboro, “I’m a longtime fan of the band, but this is my first time seeing them. I’m very excited to experience tonight’s show because I enjoy listening to strong female vocalists, and I especially love Kimberly Perry’s voice.”

Erin’s friend, Kelly from Marlboro, acknowledges, “I’m really here tonight with Erin — I’m not a longtime fan like she’s been — but I have heard The Band Perry puts on a really good show.”

Flora from Monroe Twp. acknowledges, “I’ve been a fan of The Band Perry since they first started — I really like their music, especially their strong melodies and lyrics,” before adding, “and seeing them here at the Hard Rock is great — I love this venue; I just saw the Broadway musical, Kinky Boots, here and it was fantastic.”

Lastly, we chat with Carol, a Band Perry fan from Schuylkill County, PA, who comments, “I hope the siblings perform ‘If I Die Young’ and ‘Done’ tonight — they’re two of my favorites,” before noting, “I really love that the Hard Rock is bringing all these entertainers to Atlantic City. It’s a gorgeous theater here — the seating proximity and sound just couldn’t be better.”

Inside the Soundwaves auditorium, the lights dim, at which point several youthful Band Perry fans take places standing at the very edge of the stage.

Looking sleek in her black boots and top and glittery pastel-striped pleated skirt, Kimberly Perry takes the stage. Accompanied by her brothers, Neil and Reid, the group opens with a song from Coordinates entitled “Seven Seconds.” Her voice sounding strong and true, Kimberly is accompanied by the sound of hip-hop beats and aggressive synthesizer playing, in addition to back-up vocals by Neil and Reid. As fans sing along on the “Seven seconds/Just to find a little zen” chorus, the bass booms and live keyboard percussion punctuates the use of backup tracks which are combined with the sound of a live drum set before the audience responds with energetic cheers.

“Thank you so much, Jersey!” announces Kimberly before the group launches into another tune from Coordinates entitled “Nostalgia.” As she sings, Kimberly dances center stage on this dramatic techno-pop number with a minor melody. Neil also dances as he plays one keyboard on his left and then turns his mic stand to face another keyboard on his right before switching over to play that keyboard while he sings. Brother Reid lays back loose and free, playing keyboard with his bass strapped behind his back before flipping it around to continue playing the song on bass. After Kimberly exclaims, “Is it Friday night in Jersey or what? We’ve got some work to do — sing as loud as you can!” audience members — notably those in the front — join in on the festivities, standing and singing along on the song.

Next, the group performs an updated arrangement of their 2012 Billboard country chart-topper, “Better Dig Two.” With the sound of Kimberly’s voice coming both from a pre-recorded accompaniment track as well as from her own vocal cords, she holds her microphone out so the audience can sing along, “If you go before I do/I’m gonna tell the gravedigger that he better dig two.” Then, Neil and Reid rock out on guitar and bass while Kimberly supports them on keys.

In her charming Southern style, Kimberly reveals how, this evening, the group “will play some old songs and some new songs.” Then, she and the band launch into a number from their debut album, The Band Perry, entitled “You Lie.” On this number, the group has the audience joining in on the “It just comes way too natural to you/The way you lie” chorus on an updated electronica-laced pop arrangement of their lyrical country-rock story song.

After exclaiming, “You are the sweetest, New Jersey — I’m never gonna leave!” Kimberly introduces the crowd to brother Reid on bass and brother Neil on keyboards. Together, the siblings perform their 2015 single, “Live Forever.” As lights flash, Kimberly dances with fluid movements on this melodic techno-rocker as Neil encourages audience members to wave their arms back and forth with him onstage to the catchy “Go, go crazy, go, go, go crazy/We’re gonna live, we’re gonna live forever” chorus.

Announcing, “We’re going to do some songs from our favorite artists,” Kimberly acknowledges, “This is by Mr. Post Malone.” Here, she and her brothers perform an energetic rendition of Malone’s “Go Flex” — a hip-hop number which features a booming bass that audience members can physically feel. After singing and dancing her heart out, Kimberly smiles at the crowd before inquiring, “‘Go Flex’ — do you even know what that means?”

Continuing, “This is for all of you who ever felt like you didn’t want to get out of bed, but you did — so be patient with each other,” Kimberly and her siblings perform their 2016 single, “Comeback Kid.” With the number’s percussion and bass tracks sizzling, Neil sings a harmony line which is even higher in pitch than his sister’s lead vocal.

After stating, “We have a new one called ‘Dear Departed’ — we hope you love it,” Kimberly impresses with her vocal skills on this techno-ballad from Coordinates crooning, “Nothing lasts forever/You can’t hold on/Nothing lasts forever/So just have fun.”

The audience applauds and Kimberly responds by stating, “Thank you, Jersey — thank you so much for spending time with my family.” Continuing by acknowledging, “I know we have two kinds of audiences,” a member of the crowd shouts out, “Stay country!” before Kimberly responds with a smile and asks audience members to promise to check out Coordinates on their favorite streaming services and, also, sincerely thanks them “for all you’ve done for us over the years.”

Grabbing an electric guitar, Kimberly says, “Have a big, loud, bold weekend, Jersey!” as she begins to strum “If I Die Young.” Her trademark sensual Southern-accented lead vocal sounding as strong as ever, the audience joins in on the “If I die young bury me in satin/Lay me down on a bed of roses” chorus. Encouraging the crowd by exclaiming, “As loud as we can, Jersey!” the audience sings with even more gusto on this electronica/pop arrangement before Kimberly concludes with a grin exclaiming, “Thank you so much!”

Neil Perry is featured on a techno cover version of Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova.” With his auto-tuned vocal, the audience joins in on the “Where were you while we were getting high?” lyric before Neil exclaims, “The louder you are, the luckier you are in Atlantic City!” During the number, Neil jumps down into the audience, high-fiving fans as he sings — running and dancing through the audience — before returning back to the stage to play a keyboard solo and, lastly, hug his sister as she holds her guitar vertically to play it.

Kimberly starts out singing lead on an electroncially-processed rendition of “Run Away” — strutting around the stage and encouraging the crowd to clap along to the booming bass.

As she sings, Neil and Reid play percussion on keyboards while red lights flash and roll to the music before Neil takes over the lead vocal saying, “Atlantic City, how ya doing tonight? Let’s light up those phones!” Waving his arms back and forth — leading the audience as they create their own cell phone light show to accompany the music emanating from the stage — Reid unties his man-bun, letting his long blonde hair flow as he plays keyboards while Neil sings.

Lights spin as Reid comes forward, vamping on a techno-boogie version of the Kanye West/Depeche Mode mash-up, “Personal Yeezus.” With his processed vocal sounding dark and gritty, Neil loudly whispers, “Hey, what do you say, beautiful people?” on this raw and visceral cover version. Picking up his mic stand and throwing it down as he struts around the stage, Kimberly rocks out on guitar beside him, announcing, “Come on, New Jersey — you gotta shake it out on this one!”

The fans comply, responding with cheers and applause at the end, at which point the siblings launch into a powerful and energetic rendition of their 2013 #1 country hit, “Done.”

Reimagined with a driving beat, the audience sings along with Kimberly, Neil, and Reid on the song’s catchy “Mama always told me that I should play nice/She didn’t know you when she gave me that advice” chorus. Heads bop to the banging beat of live instruments and pre-recorded tracks on this high-energy performance, and the group elicits hoots and hollers from the audience as The Band Perry takes leave of the stage.

The audience continues to stand and cheer, and the group returns for an encore of another number from Coordinates, “Marfa Prada.” On this high-energy techno dancer, Kimberly commands the stage as she distinctly sings, “Burn through Nevada/Chasing Nirvana/Gon’ find God at/Marfa Prada.”

Soon Neil takes over the vocal — singing through a processor a la Daft Punk — while the audience claps overhead. Kimberly dances under the flashing lights while the group rocks out to cheers and whistles before she exclaims at the conclusion, “Good night and God bless you, Atlantic City. We love you!”

As audience members make their way out of the Soundwaves theater, we chat with several members of the crowd who share their opinions of tonight’s concert with us.

First, we chat with friends Jeff and Tracy from Lanoka Harbor.

Says Jeff, “It wasn’t what I was expecting — I know The Band Perry more as a country group — but I still enjoyed their show.” Continuing, “I especially enjoyed the songs I knew,” Jeff acknowledges, “Even though they changed them up, I really liked them.”

Tracy from Lanoka Harbor, agrees, revealing, “I wasn’t prepared for it, but I liked it,” before exclaiming, “I wish they had played even longer!”

Next we speak with Lisa and Julia, a mother and daughter, from Lyndhurst.

Remarks Lisa, “I thought The Band Perry sounded great on songs like ‘Better Dig Two’ and ‘Done.’ We’ve seen them before — they are super talented musicians. Tonight, however, they used a lot of tracks which didn’t allow their musicianship to shine through as much,” stating, “I really would have enjoyed hearing more of their own live playing.”

Daughter Julia agrees explaining, “It’s kind of an abrupt change — it’s like a 180. I would have liked it if they had done more of their country songs and just sprinkled in the new material,” before noting, “but I really liked that they did a cover version of ‘Personal Yeezus’ — it was cool — it had us both singing along.”

We also chat with four young women who stood on their feet for the entire concert near the front of the theater.

Exclaims Brittany from Long Island, NY, “I thought The Band Perry was just incredible tonight! I liked that they did some of their old stuff. Their new songs are different, but I’m supportive of anything they do because they put their hearts into it, and they’re super dedicated to their fans.”

Katie from Long Island recalls, “We saw this tour in Westbury, LI, and we came to Atlantic City to see it again. The Band Perry performs so well together. They have this whole new look and they’re so personable,” before declaring, “I would see the show again. I’ll follow them wherever they go.”

Danielle from Southampton remarks, “I love The Band Perry — they’re all super talented,” recalling, “This is my fifth time seeing them.”

Continuing, “Even though they crossed genres from country to pop, we still love them. They like to perform at smaller venues where they can really connect with their fans,” Danielle additionally reveals, “We met the siblings twice and the last time, Kimberly even encouraged us to keep standing up at their concerts!”

Danielle’s sister, Michelle from Marlton, agrees adding, “The Band Perry is my favorite group,” confessing, “I especially love Reid and his man-bun,” before acknowledging, “Their family band has brought the four of us friends together.”

Lastly, we chat with Carol From Schuylkill County, PA, with whom we spoke before the show. With regards to tonight’s performance by The Band Perry, declares Carol, “Now that was an experience!” before concluding with a wink, “They’re definitely turning over a new leaf.”

To learn more about The Band Perry, please go to thebandperry.com. For information on upcoming performances at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s Soundwaves performing arts venue — including Kansas on May 31 and June 1 — please click on hardrockhotels.com/sound-waves.

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