By Sebastian Buzzalino
May 23, 2019
Commonwealth Bar & Stage
2019 is shaping up to be the year of yeehaw and anticipation ran high for Orville Peck. The masked outlaw’s debut, Pony, has dominated conversations this year about what can and cannot be country music, but the capacity crowd at Commonwealth couldn’t be bothered by splitting hairs. Instead, under a fringed face mask and backed by FRIGS, also from Toronto, Peck held a spellbound crowd in the palm of his hands.
From the first melancholic chords, Peck’s western-influenced moody vibes toyed with the idea of what is normative in country music. He’s an outspoken proponent of pushing the edges of the traditionally conservative genre to fit into our contemporary world and, as he flicked and swayed his way through his set, Peck busted open wide spaces for anyone to feel involved, included and loved.
Openers Bobby Tenderloin Universe were the perfect match for Peck. Comprised of most of The Wet Secrets, the crammed eight-piece on stage crooned their way through an excellent debut set. They were led by Edmonton mainstay Paul Arnusch, who continues to demonstrate the breadth of his songwriting abilities by shape-shifting from project to project. This one’s going to stick, though: it’s not often an opening band gets the reception Bobby Tenderloin Universe did, and for good reason. We’re all part of the universe now.Orville Peck, Pony, Sub Pop, yeehaw