Kimberly Perry attacked the stage the way you wish Miranda Lambert would. Perry showed none of the vocal histrionics of Carrie Underwood, the stagy drama of Taylor Swift or the low-energy nonchalance of Lambert. Instead, she seemed like the real deal.
Perry owned the sold-out Treasure Island Casino in Red Wing, Minn., on Saturday night with rock-star abandon and panache. She sang with whiskey-voiced passion and thrilled 3,000 fans with the kind of authenticity, spirit and freshness that most of the big-name women in country music lack in concert.
Wait a minute — Kimberly who? Why isn’t she a big star?
Because she is featured on only two albums and she’s actually the lead singer of her sibling trio, the Band Perry. Hiding behind that unbecoming and anonymous moniker, Perry, 30, isn’t as widely known as her hit songs or as frontwoman Jennifer Nettles has been with Sugarland.
But Perry made all the right moves on Saturday. She arrived like a sibling trio should — on an elevated platform, with her boy-band-cute little brothers on either side and the letters TBP on separate big screens behind them. Then the trio tore into “Done,” a scorching kiss-off that rivals any incendiary bye-bye tune by Lambert or Underwood.
When the band’s fiddler ripped into a solo, Perry was down on her knees at his feet, worshiping him. When the fiddler took his next solo, Perry, her two brothers and three other bandmates (including Twin Cities-reared guitarist Matt Revere) stood in a line and danced “Riverdance” style in unison. This girl just knows how to have fun.
Then Perry bounced into “You Lie,” a peppy accusation worthy of the Dixie Chicks. She seemed infectiously effervescent without being cute or cloying. No country woman has had this much fun onstage in years.
“Get your hands up,” she implored at the beginning of “Night Gone Wasted,” a noisy barroom stomp that soon found Perry dancing with her microphone stand, tossing off her leather jacket and strutting around in her 4-inch heels and shaking her pleated skirt-clad booty. Fun, fun, fun.
Time for the obligatory chat about the challenges of working with siblings. She called the stage their therapy, playground and recess, and she encouraged the crowd to leave their troubles behind and dance like one family. Good advice, but not maybe before a ballad.
Yes, Perry sat on a stool, with her brother Neil on mandolin, for the chart-topping ballad “All My Life,” with her voice sounding a little road-weary hoarse. But she sounded so sincere and so country.
Perry may be from the Appalachian town of Greene- ville, Tenn., but she’s no backwoods woman. She unleashed her rock ’n’ roll swagger on the Stones-like “I’m a Keeper,” then went Meat Loaf-meets-boy-band on “Forever Mine” before cutting loose on Queen’s rock classic “Fat Bottomed Girls.”
Throughout the 80-minute set, Perry didn’t fuss with her hair, change outfits or flaunt her bling (she’s engaged to a Toronto Blue Jays catcher) like so many country princesses do. About her only concession to stardom was her Louboutin boots with those spiked heels.
The Band Perry did make the crowd wait for the encore to hear its signature song, the Kimberly Perry-penned “If I Die Young,” an award-winning 2010 smash. They followed that bluegrassy reflection on mortality with the raucous death-wish rocker-as-love-song “Better Dig Two,” their third No. 1 tune.
There is no question that Kimberly Perry and her two shaggy-haired brothers are ready to become country’s next arena headliner. In fact, they’ve already announced arena shows for next year in Duluth and Bemidji.