Orville Peck presents “Queer Country” at the Arlington Theater

Graham Glass / Daily Nexus

An anonymous cowboy in a fringed mask and floral-print suit had full control of the Arlington Theater on April 26. The cowboy, multi-talented country singer Orville Peck, was in Santa Barbara for the first time on his Bronco tour in support of his latest album. of the same name.

Orville Peck has mysteriously crawled onto the alternative country music scene for the past five years since releasing his dark and brooding debut singles – “Big Sky” and “Dead of Night” – which showcased the singer’s ability to take listeners to the quaint, vintage western town of their dreams. Peck is also a dreamlike character; his musical vision is inspired by older Western voices, such as Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, and his artistic vision portrays an invariably well-dressed, mystifying and tattooed queer cowboy. Peck himself is gay and he proudly does not shy away from his identity, proving that he is an indispensable influence on the modern country scene. More recently, after being picked up by Columbia Records, Peck’s music has become more accessible than before, swapping the low, slow ballads for catchier hooks and fast choruses. Peck works well with both, knowing he’s becoming more of a pop star, and playing it through more flamboyant looks and artistic decisions.

Audiences got a taste of both sides of the self-proclaimed ‘outlaw cowboy’ last night as Peck played a 90-minute set featuring songs from his debut album ‘Pony’, his EP ‘Show Pony’. and his most recent critically acclaimed album, “Bronco”, which contains the song with which the singer opened the show. As Peck’s band, dressed as if they had just returned from the saloon, took the stage, they played an instrumental opening containing songs to be played against the backdrop. Afterwards, Peck waltzed over to his microphone. Peck wore what appeared to be a tailored suit and matching pants, with a bright blue and yellow floral pattern all over it. “Daytona Sand” was the opening song, and the audience cheered as Peck sang the opening lines: “Dude, we got some major blues / Another suitcase in your hand / Hope you brought your shoes walk / Because it’s far enough from what I understand.”

Three songs into the set, Peck gave the audience an unforgettable live singing moment with his performance “The Curse of the Blackened Eye”. In a moment that highlights the singer’s powerful falsetto, Peck dramatically waved to the audience as he sang the bridge’s first line: “Always said I should work on my escape.” He stopped as the audience began to cheer, as most knew what was coming. He continued, “Have a heart too long, it’s bound to break.” Another pause occurred as shouts were heard among the crowd. Peck then went on to sing a sustained high riff on the last line of the bridge: “Acting out the opus of your last forever ache.” As he held the riff to “ache”, he didn’t fail to applaud or woo the crowd. Peck waved his hand in reverence and took over the song’s chorus, leaving fans at the Arlington Theater in awe.

The set continued as the sweaty cowboy took off his jacket, revealing a women’s white tank top, and he moved to sit to the left of his piano, ready to show off another of his many talents. . Here, Peck began the next act of his set with a light version of “Drive Me, Crazy”. He prefaced the song with an explanation of how the premise of the story featured “truck drivers in love”, prompting him to ask the audience if anyone was a truck driver. When a man in the orchestra section of the audience raised his hand, Peck directed his attention to him, gave him a cheeky wink, and started the song. It was humorous moments like this where Peck laughed with the audience that showcased parts of the singer’s true personality that perhaps didn’t come out from his albums, singles and EPs. Peck has a warm and radiant personality, and his interactions with the audience through the crowd created an intimate spectacle, making his performance all the more special and worth the ticket price.

After closing his show with the energetic “Bronco”, the audience erupted in applause, which continued as the blue lights slowly began to brighten, hinting at an encore. After a few minutes of applause and shouting, Peck and his band returned, and the singer explained that he always closed his concerts with the specific song he was about to play. He explained that if anyone had ever attended his shows, they had been inducted into the club to see the iconic western live. Inducting us all into this club, Peck started playing “Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call)”. The high tempo, rumpus, and honky-tonk tune got everyone back on their feet, clapping along to the beat. Bright smiles were visible across the audience as Peck closed the show by thanking the audience, and his band continued the fast-paced broadcast. For fans and newcomers alike, Peck gave a reason to add more of his music to audience members’ playlists in a desire to bring back the night they witnessed the show of a lifetime.

About Roy B. Westling

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