Never mind the music. Sometimes all it takes to make a band a country band is a mandolin or a fiddle. Or both.
By TIMOTHY FINN
The Kansas City Star
Take the Band Perry, for example. Theyre a trio of siblings Kimberly Perry and brothers Neil and Reid who have landed seven singles on Billboards Top 10 country chart and been nominated for a slew of country music awards.
Thursday night, they drew about 4,000 fans to the Independence Events Center and delivered more than 80 minutes of music, most of which was more Pink than Dolly Parton. It made for a raucous high-energy evening.
Kimberly Perry is the oldest of the siblings and the leader of the band, vocally and otherwise. Shes a rock chick with a cheerleaders personae and all night she stoked the mood in the arena.
She preached the theme of family and reminded the the crowd it was hearing country music, even after the cover of Queens Fat Bottomed Girls.
Her brothers play bass (Reid) and mandolin (Neil) and chime in on background vocals and, like most sibling ensembles, there is something a little extra-sublime about their harmonies.
They were backed by a quartet of musicians, including a fiddler who embellished his introduction with a few measures of Paint It Black by the Rolling Stones, and a guitarist well-versed in shredding.
They opened with Done, a rock-blues anthem about calling a relationship quits, then Night Gone Wasted, a party anthem about blowing off steam at the end of a long work week.
Those were the predominate subjects all night: love, heartache and the need to cut loose. They emphasized the party theme by covering Timber, a cover of a Pitbull earworm he recorded with Ke$ha.
There were a couple contemplative moments. Toward the middle of the show, an American flag was hoisted onstage and the band and the crowd stood to honor their country as fiddler Jason Fitz performed a graceful rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.
They followed that with Pioneer, a mandolin-infused ballad about nose-to-the-grindstone perseverance and lust for adventure, then Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone), a Chris Tomlin ballad.
Otherwise it was a night of hard-rocking pop, songs like Hip to My Heart/Postcard From Paris, which sounds like something Pink could have recorded. Kimberly Perry is a kinetic and demonstrative lead singer; at times she evokes the sassier side of Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks.
They closed with the ballad If I Die Young, which was as country as anything they did all night, then Better Dig Two, an anthem about the fine line between love and insanity: If you die before I do / Im gonna tell the gravedigger that he better dig two. That one had a heavy Southern rock vibe, another flavor in the music melting pot that has become modern country.