Over the past few years, Mac DeMarco has honed and perfected his own blend of indie rock that has captivated fans the world over – his sound sometimes frantic and energetic such as on his breakout 2, and otherwise mellow, gentle and introspective as on his latest effort, This Old Dog. Mac’s easy going style and wonky guitar tone are well-loved by many, and his success has spawned many imitators and parodies – but none of these acts have the one thing that truly sets Mac apart from his peers: his dangerously unstable and hilariously unprofessional live performances.
To attend a Mac DeMarco concert is to see his personality writ large across the stage – a glorious embodiment of who Mac is that extends beyond the music he creates. The best way to describe what goes on throughout a Mac concert is antics – a slow escalation of silliness that enraptures its confused audience. Such antics often include some more than lightly reworked covers – Mac choosing to often end sets with Vanessa Carlton’s ‘Making My Way Downtown’, or playing the opening riff to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ ‘Can’t Stop’ over and over again as a screen proudly displaying Nintendo classic Mother 3 idles in the background. There are some particularly wonderful clips on YouTube of Mac dragging doe-eyed fans onstage to play songs with him – or even hoisting his girlfriend Kiera onto his shoulders for a rendition of ‘Still Together’ that goes on far longer than it should (with yodelling in tow). Mac’s live sets are built on these antics – his fans driven to see him time and time again not only for the music, but to see what strange surprises he has in store next.
A love of Mac DeMarco’s music and stage presence has left me unabashedly hyped-up for his performance at Southampton Guildhall – on Halloween no less. The gig is listed as the ‘This Old Bat Halloween Spooktacular’ on the tour poster, and who knows what that might entail. Will we see Mac consume live bats à la Ozzie? Perhaps covers of ‘Thriller’ or ‘Ghostbusters’? Or maybe, just maybe, our expectations will be completely subverted, and Mac will play the first remotely “normal” gig of his career. Only time will tell, and this old dog can’t wait 2 see what’s freaking out the neighbourhood (I’m so sorry).
Mac DeMarco plays a sold out gig at the O2 Guildhall on Halloween night (31st October). Check out the music video for ‘One Another’ from the new album below.