Orville Peck is one of the most mysterious and hotly tipped newcomers in the music industry right now. The openly gay masked cowboy has been turning heads ever since he debuted in 2018 with ‘Big Sky’. Since then the Canadian singer-songwriter has released his critically acclaimed debut album ‘Pony’ and has been selling out shows across Europe, America and Canada, and has even started being added on huge festival line up’s like Coachella and Bonnaroo.
Touching down in Australia for a run of sold out shows, these intimate affairs are ones that truly feel special as you will probably never see him playing venues this small ever again. As I walked into The Foundry before his support act Charlie Collins took to the stage, I was quite shocked by how packed the venue already was with passionate fans already filling up the area in front of the stage and a massive line for the bar at the other end. The Brisbane crowd was very varied with country fans donning big boots and cowboy hats while his alternative LGBTQI+ following was very much in presence too. Bringing all different walks of life together, this sold out show felt like a pure celebration of music and art.
Walking on stage to huge screams and applause with a simple black mask with side frills covering his face, he stared down the middle of the crowd and said in his signature husky voice, “G’day, I’m Orville Peck”. Opening the show with ‘Big Sky’, ‘Winds Change’, ‘Roses Are Falling’ and ‘Turn To Hate’, he immediately had the whole crowd swooning and in awe of his beautiful Roy Orbinson meets Johnny Cash melodic tone which was utterly mesmerising.
Taking time in-between songs to chat to the crowd and to explain the origin of the stories behind the songs, he made the show feel even more intimate, interactive and special, as well as making you feel like you really got to know the man behind the mask. Explaining how ‘Queen Of The Rodeo’ is about a drag queen he met in Vancouver, he took a moment to preach to the crowd about how important supporting local drag and art was, and how it’s such an important subversive art. Proclaiming “this is where we get intimate”, his tone got a little more seductive during ‘Kansas Remembers Me Now’ before getting a little boisterous on ‘Buffalo Run’.
With only one album out in the world, he did play a few key country covers in his set like ‘Something To Brag About’ and ‘Ooh Las Vegas’ which highlighted his love and understanding for the art of the genre ‘Nothing Fades Like The Light’, ‘Dead Of Night’ and the new unreleased track ‘No Glory In The West’ steered the show to an end before he said goodnight with ‘Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call)’ and a cheeky little whistle competition with his bandmates.
With the crowd cheering his name for more, he returned to the stage for a cover of Bobbie Gentry’s ‘Fancy’ which he admitted he was hesitant to do because it was a heavily female orientated song but it is 2020 and he said “fuck it”. Bringing his unique twist to the song, he really embraced the feminist message of the song and gave it an earnest approach. Orville Peck is the real deal and is an artist that is going to only get bigger with time. He’s the masked cowboy that everyone needs in their life.
Opening the show was an exclusive acoustic set by Australian country rising star Charlie Collins. She’s an artist who has impressively made quite the impact with her debut album ‘Snowpine’ which was nominated for Best Country Album at the 2019 Aria Awards.
Walking on stage by herself, she gave the at capacity crowd a set of intimate storytelling and candid banter of the songs contents which highlighted a different side of her personality. Opening with ‘Please Let Me Go’ she soothingly transitioned into album favourite ‘Mexico’ as well as even gave the crowd an impressive cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’. Accompanied only on stage by her guitar and harmonica she managed to captivate the crowd with her soulful vocals and successfully gained a few new fans from her candid energy.
Check out the full gallery captured by Claudia Bill Photography BELOW;
Photos by Claudia Bill
Orville Peck Australian Tour
Thursday 16 January – Corner Hotel, Melbourne *SOLD OUT*
Monday 20 January – Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Sydney *SOLD OUT*