Orville Peck – Powerstation: July 17, 2022 (Concert Review)

Orville Peck is welcomed to the stage by a sold-out Powerstation audience who raise a massive welcoming cheer. The black-tasseled Lone Ranger mask and black cowboy hat of Peck is matched by many tonight, males and females.

They start with the explosive Daytona Sand, the opening track of current album Bronco. Thundering drums marshall this song like a runaway locomotive. Anthemic cowpunk with Peck’s big baritone voice riding above, sounding a lot like Tony Kinman and the glory days of Rank and File.

Turn to Hate, off debut album Pony, is rockabilly revved up into a riff-driven monster and runs away with the energy of The Clash, let’s say White Riot.

That sets the tone of the show. The band can channel the rockabilly punk energy of the likes of X, with Billy Zoom and his rhythmic attack guitar, and a little of Poison Ivy from The Cramps. The Wild Gift of Rock’n’Roll!


Erny Belle

Erny BelleErny Belle is Aimee Renata, who grew up in Auckland and has family roots in Maungataroto. She is playing with a five-piece band behind her and she opens with a te reo song which could be He Wawata. A pleasant melody with a feel of Fifties Pop.

Most of her short set come from an album released in February this year, Venus is Home.

A song like Hell Hole has a Country twang and a darker psychological theme. I like the feeling of suffocation. Surf rhythm riffs lift the mood.

When she sits to play an acoustic guitar on Burning Heaven, she sings in a lower register. A Folk tune which drifts into Dream Pop.

A similar style to Nuclear Bomb, but the narrative is heavy and deeply ironic. I’m gonna smoke some P/ Put my baby in a washing machine/ I pray to God a nuclear bombs gonna kill me.

The band lightens the mood with their country rock or country folk approach. Upbeat melodies matched to darker moods.


Orville Peck

Oriville PeckPeck keeps his identity hidden but he did grow up in Johannesburg until at least his mid-teens. He resides in Canada and his accent is more North American than Afrikaan.

This has some influence in his musical approach. Dominant may be the Rockabilly Proto-Surf as came out of the Sun Studios of the latter Fifties. But, The Curse of the Blackened Eye has a tribal Afrobeat. A slower tempo pitches it into country. It is not a Ubangi Stomp.

When he sits at the piano to sing Drive Me Crazy, the voice is out front in a deep baritone rumble. He is closer to Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers than Johnny Cash. The band behind this is primarily percussive and there’s that AfroBeat intertwined in there somewhere.

One of the standouts for the night was Kalahari Down. An echoing atmospheric start straight out of Sam Phillip’s mixing desk. Then a big back beat as they roll out some rockabilly. It’s early classic Roy Orbison’s Domino with Soweto-Beat Surf.

If you mix cowpunk, rockabilly and country rock and make it riff-heavy, you going to throw up AC/DC eventually. That is what you hear on Outta Time. She tells me she don’t like Elvis! Straight up Rock’n’Roll.

Any Turn, Peck calls it a patter song. A Beat Poet’s Rap and its similarity to Subterranean Homesick Blues in sound emphasises the rockabilly origin of the Dylan standard.

Maybe the best straight-out rocker was Legends Never Die, where female rhythm guitarist Breer (I think) shared the vocals. Delaney and Bonnie in spirit.

They finish the show charging off on that wild untamed Bronco.

And come back for a Resurrection Shuffle, Take You Back (The Iron Hoof Cattle Call). Starts with whistles, then the Fall’s Fiery Jack gets driven over by Rank and File’s Train Conductor Wore Black.

High energy throughout the Orville Peck show. The Wild Gift of Rock’n’Roll out with a vengeance!

Rev Orange Peel

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk:

Orville Peck:


Erny Belle: