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LIVE REVIEW: Orville Peck at Forum Melbourne

Photography: Lady Drewniak

There was excitement in the air at the Forum, anticipating the return to Melbourne of Orville Peck, the ever so talented country singer from Canada.

Enter Freya Josephine Hollick, the opening act for night one. Charismatic and confident she was, seeming like she has been a worldwide star for decades. How comfortable she seemed on stage with an echoey, haunting voice that flowed through the Forum effortlessly. It wouldn’t be a country gig without a dedication to the one and only Dolly Parton, finishing her set with ‘I Will Always Love You’ she claims “It’s got a sad karaoke vibe to it” - but anyone that can sing a Dolly song as fabulously as her has every right to sing it. Freya leaves a lasting impression, and if you haven’t already, make sure to save her music to your Spotify now (especially ‘Gold and Diamonds Shinin’’).

Cue the lights, the outfit coordinated band, and the tassels. Orville Peck has entered the stage. Beginning with ‘Daytona Sand’, you’re instantly exposed to his delicious deep voice, and throughout the night his vocal range just becomes more and more impressive.

Following on with ‘Turn to Hate’ from his debut album Pony, the energy lifts, the leg kicks begin, yeehaw!

You’re already incredibly impressed with his voice, but then Orville Peck sings ‘The Curse of the Blackened Eye’, and you’re left gobsmacked. Who on earth has a range like that? How can one possibly sound like that? Get. Outta. Town.

‘C’mon Baby Cry’ was a welcome addition to the set, one of the catchier, feel good songs it had you moving and bopping around. “The next song’s about truck drivers and love” he explains as he sits down at the piano. With his guitarist hitting a solo while perched on top of the piano, we were transported to a western saloon atmosphere.

While he serenades us with ‘No Glory in the West’, his theatrics and body language are so strong, which really make sense seeing as his facial expressions are covered, he must have to compensate with his body movements to convey his feelings and emotions while performing.

‘Hexi Mountain’ took an emotional turn, a song about Orville’s battle with depression and escapism, it’s a little insight into his life. It was stripped back and beautiful, with a welcoming addition of the banjo.

Of course they must play ‘Legends Never Die’! Sadly Shania Twain was not able to make it to duet the song, however Bria Salmena, guitarist and singer in his band, left no part of you wishing Shania was there. Bria is an incredible singer, such a strong presence in the band, and an absolute pleasure to watch. She also duetted her song with Orville Peck ‘All I Can Say’, which was definitely another highlight of the night.

The night wouldn't be complete without ‘Dead of Night’, a sing along, and a reminder of where it all started for him.

The encore was ‘Take you Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call)’. It was so country. It was so fun. We were so sad the night was ending. With incredible energy, perfect guitar, and flawless whistling, the night has ended on the biggest high possible. We want more!

Although he holds an element of mystery as the masked country singer, Orville Peck brings such an approachable and friendly presence to his performances, it’s like you’re his friend without knowing him, or seeing his face. Handing out roses to his gorgeous crowd, he’s got everyone falling in love with him. His fans are fabulous, and dress to impress, with tasselled jackets and sequinned assless chaps, it’s the trendiest country crowd you’ll ever see.

Orville Peck has an impeccable band. With not one note of time or out of place, they are as tight as a band can be, all stars of the show in their own rights.

With a vibrant vibrato voice, a kind and approachable presence, and the greatest country outfits, Orville Peck delivers an incredible live performance.

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