As music fans, we have a complex, sometimes difficult, relationship with the concept of transformation. In some cases, an artist’s decision to evolve into different versions of themselves ultimately makes them legends (David Bowie, Madonna, Bob Dylan). For others, this pivot is less successful, and they either lose credibility (Maroon 5), or lose the industry foothold and the credibility they once had, never to be heard from again.
Currently standing on this precipice are The Band Perry, a trio of siblings hailing from Mobile, Alabama, who have carved out a respectable spot in country music with hits such as “If I Die Young,” and “All Your Life.” With the recent announcement that their third album (“My Bad Imagination”) will leave country behind for the sleeker, shinier arena of pop, came a mixture of shock, lots of comparisons to Taylor Swift – but also support, and the realization that recent, mainstream-friendly tracks like “Live Forever” and “Comeback Kid” have already primed fans for the transition.
An introduction to this new Band Perry was the primary mission of the show Wednesday night, Aug. 2, at the Pacific Ampitheatre, with the group adding thumping bass, 808s and other pop flourishes to hits such as “Better Dig Two” and “Chainsaw.”
“We’re gonna have to channel a little Saturday energy into this Wednesday,” lead singer and big sis Kimberly Perry joked, almost unrecognizable with her freshly dyed hair and all-black outfit. This was right after “Stay In The Dark,” the first single off of the upcoming album whose millennial whoop and soaring chorus is definitely more Katy Perry than Carrie Underwood.
Though Kimberly joked about the band’s edgy new look (“I know y’all thought they kicked Kimberly out of the band. It’s still me under here”), and gave an inspiring speech about the importance of growth in the Perry family, comparing the making of each album to “graduating from middle school to high school, from high school to college,” the new pop direction was never explicitly mentioned. Not that it was hard to miss.