Review: Orville Peck at White Oak Music Hall

It all started with a little wave and simple statement of, “Hello. I’m Orville Peck.” A black Lone Ranger mask with a foot and a half of red fringe tassels dangled down to hide the showman’s true identity. The large ivory American classic Gretsch guitar hung from his neck as the band launched into “Daytona Sand” — just one of the standout songs from this year’s album, Bronco.

The Tuesday night show held inside of White Oak Music Hall had been sold out since the latter half of March by fans obsessed with the mysterious figure and his music. Peck has had a meteoric rise in popularity and has captured a cult-like following. A large gain in traction may be attributed to “Dead of Night” being the soundtrack to Cassie and Nate’s initial escapades of risky behaviors in the second season of HBO’s gritty drama Euphoria. The venue was filled with fans dressed in any and every type of ostentatious Western wear that one could imagine, from pink Stetsons to neon cactus printed pearl snap shirts.

click to enlarge Orville Peck and Bria Salmena play at White Oak Music Hall. - PHOTO BY VIOLETA ALVAREZ

Orville Peck and Bria Salmena play at White Oak Music Hall.

Photo by Violeta Alvarez

The acoustics were near perfect throughout the night barring a few times when the feedback from the microphone squealed. The band played tight versions of “Turn to Hate” and “C’mon Baby Cry” as Peck’s baritone voice channeled Roy Orbison. When he is not strumming the guitar, his hand is in the air, pointing at the crowd or his fingers are spread wide open catching every glimmer of stage light. His flexibility was on display as he folded into a backbend perpendicular to the floor as his guitar pointed straight up to the sky. Simply put, the guy has more flair than Jennifer Aniston when she was employed at Chotchkie’s.

After “Any Turn,” the fast track with rapid lyrics, Peck handed out a pair of roses to fans who knew all the words and sang along to the song. He later gave a rose to someone with a beautiful outfit. And then another rose was passed all the way to the back to the lady with the biggest hat in the venue. The massive  pink hat matched her smile when other fans lit her up with their cell phones so the band could get a better look at her. It should also be noted that she generously viewed the show from the back of the room as to not block the stage for a lot of people.

click to enlarge Orville Peck says it's time to ride. - PHOTO BY VIOLETA ALVAREZ

Orville Peck says it’s time to ride.

Photo by Violeta Alvarez

Peck’s self-described right hand woman, Bria Salmena added to the crowd’s excitement when she began singing, “All I Can Say” and performed Shania Twain’s part in the duet, “Legends Never Die.” Other highlights included Peck playing the piano on “Drive Me, Crazy” and as beloved as he is by the LGBTQ community it came as no surprise to hear the roof blown off when crowd sang “See the boys as they walk on by.” This chorus to “Dead of Night” raised the energy in the room to another level.

When Peck reemerged for the encore he looked less like Roy Rogers and more like Wes Hightower, the villain from Urban Cowboy. In his skintight tanktop, he called for everyone’s participation for the final song and promised that all would be card carrying members of the Orville Peck gang. Legend has it that the posse grew by a thousand people that night. Orville Peck should be a RodeoHouston Star Entertainer. If the rise in fame continues on the same path it could happen much sooner than later.

click to enlarge Orville Peck displays the ultimate flair at White Oak Music Hall. - PHOTO BY VIOLETA ALVAREZ

Orville Peck displays the ultimate flair at White Oak Music Hall.

Photo by Violeta Alvarez

So How Were The Openers Teddy and the Rough Riders perfectly primed the crowd for Peck. The honky-tonkers would have been a perfect band to play the old Armadillo Ballroom down CR521 in Brazoria, Texas.

Personal Bias I’m waiting for the day when Orville Peck and Paul Cauthen reunite and tour as the Unrighteous Brothers.

Set List

Daytona Sand
Turn to Hate
The Curse of the Blackened Eye
C’mon Baby, Cry
Queen of the Rodeo
Drive Me, Crazy
No Glory in the West
Outta Time
Any Turn
All I Can Say
Hexie Mountains
Legends Never Die
Kalahari Down
Dead of Night
Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call)

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