By Ben Crandell, SouthFlorida.com
7:39 AM EDT, October 9, 2013
Six weeks after Miami Beach’s glamorous Fontainebleau hosted the world’s second most-famous twerker, Robin Thicke, the next concert on the hotel’s Bleau Live series is Sunday’s set by chart-topping country-music stars the Band Perry. If banjos, boots, bikinis and Bellinis seem like an odd mix, well, you haven’t been paying attention to country music, or the Band Perry.
Kimberly Perry and younger brothers Neil and Reid are in the middle of a world tour in support of the massively popular album “Pioneer,” which has yielded No. 1 hits in “Better Dig Two” and “DONE” (each winning the mop-topped Perry brothers their first songwriting gold records). Both singles show off a tangible pop-rock edge, a vibe that is becoming more apparent, the siblings say.
“On the first album [the platinum-selling 2010 self-titled debut], everyone thought of us as these sweet young people,” says Neil, perhaps recalling the group’s January 2011 tour stop at the Kiss Country Chili Cookoff in Pembroke Pines. “Now, you’re seeing more black leather and stuff.”
The success of their debut album (with singles “If I Die Young” and “You Lie”) and “Pioneer” has emboldened the band with a spirit spelled out in the name of the tour: We Are Pioneers. But rather than being followers of the pop-country trail blazed by Taylor Swift, the journey takes the Perrys back where they came from, Kimberly says.
“Country radio and country fans are allowing us to explore more of our rock groove, the kind of music we grew up with, the music our father would sing to us when he put us to bed,” she says of their Tennessee upbringing. Dad Steve Perry (“not that one,” she says, laughing) would sing favorites by the Rolling Stones, the Beach Boys, Dobie Gray and Queen, with “Bohemian Rhapsody” in heavy rotation.
Neil says he will be “channeling my inner Freddie Mercury” at the Fontainebleau on the Band Perry’s cover of Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls,” and the fun. hit “Some Nights” may also be on the set list. And don't be surprised if the band borrows a tune from Fall Out Boy: Last week, the trio joined the Chicago rockers for a Nashville taping of the genre-blending song swap “CMT Crossroads.”
The show will air Nov. 29, and Reid would only say that the two bands experimented with “If I Die Young,” “Better Dig Two” and “DONE,” among other songs. Says Kimberly: “It was really cool to have two bands that you currently hear on the radio. Fall Out Boy is brilliant.”
The musical variety isn’t the only rock distracting Kimberly these days: She just got engaged to Miami native J.P. Arencibia, a catcher for the Toronto Blue Jays, who put a 3.3-carat, emerald-cut ring on it about 10 days ago. The couple met at last year’s Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, a March date that brought the band and ballplayer near (the Blue Jays’ spring training facility is in Dunedin) at a time when Arencibia had worked up the courage.
“I had several artist friends who are connected some way to him, and they kept telling me, ‘Hey, there’s this baseball player who is really trying to meet you,’ " Kimberly says of Arencibia, who introduced himself after waiting in line at the band’s post-show meet-and-greet. "He did have a plan. He had been to a few of our shows but it was the first time he was in the meet-and-greet. We actually did meet over a basket of strawberries.”
The couple plans a summer 2014 wedding, and Arencibia has the brothers' full support.
“He understands our lifestyle,” Neil says. “A baseball player is gone six out of 12 months, and that really complements our lifestyle. He is very supportive. That’s the best thing about J.P. … Kimberly and him know how to make it work.”
IF YOU GO
The Band Perry will perform at 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13, at the Fontainebleau Hotel, 4441 Collins Ave., in Miami Beach. Admission is guests-only, starting at $299 per night for three nights, $399 each for two nights, including passes to the concert, two-hour open bar and a Saturday pool party. VIP packages with a suite and a meet-and-greet with the Band Perry also are available. Call 800-548-8886, or go to BleauLive.com.
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