This Mac DeMarco article was written by Ben Malkin, a GIGsoup contributor
As I stood next to the barrier in front of the stage at the Institute, hundreds and hundreds of excited people chanted “Mac” over and over again. The reason? Mac DeMarco was all set to play his first ever show in Birmingham, and his ever-growing fanbase was collectively looking forward to this more than anything.
I’m not sure if it’s due to his rise in status in general, or if it’s his old school cult following, but the venue was completely packed. Time ticked away and the anticipation was strong; the hardcore fans in the audience knew they were in for the wild stage antics Mac is known for, and of course, some tight instrumentals among a nice collection of jangly rockers and heartfelt ballads.
First things first, it was dinner time. Literally. The support act’s name was Dinner – a Danish singer whose act is almost indescribable, but I’ll do it anyway. Dinner took to the stage and pushed a few buttons;’80s-esque synth pop played and he started screaming into the microphone. His set revolved around his sense of character, with strange spoken word passages, talking about himself in cryptic ways, and dancing wildly, sometimes with a jacket covering his head. Watching Dinner do his thing was quite the experience, and despite the style of his act being completely unexpected, he won a lot of people in the audience over, and he got a lot of them dancing.
In a way, Dinner was a very fitting opening act; he displayed a really strange sense of charisma and physicality, and that’s a great way to describe the stage presence of the man everyone was there to see, Mac DeMarco. Joining him were his familiar bandmates; Pierce on bass, Andy on guitar/keyboards, Joe on drums, and somewhat newcomer Jon on keyboards.
Mac and his band opened with the first track from his most recent release, ‘The Way You Love Her’, which was an instant crowd livener; the place was rocking as soon as all the instruments kicked in, with dancing, jumping and a lot of general rowdiness. After that was crowd pleaser, ‘Salad Days’ from the album of the same name, which essentially gave everyone the same kind of thrill as the opener.
Fans were then treated to a nicely varied set, including more songs from ‘Salad Days’, a few tracks from ‘2’, and almost every song from newest album, ‘Another One’. They played a good few slower songs, the kind of ballads DeMarco is known for, and the crowd were just as wild as they were for the rockier numbers.
The audience weren’t the only people there with energy – you have to applaud the fact that the band were as animated as ever, completely loose and full of life, incredible considering the amount of touring they’ve done over the past few years. Also, if they meet your sense of humour, you’ll get just as much enjoyment out of the often sophomoric stage banter as the music; as they fill the gaps between songs with weird, but hilarious nonetheless, comedy. These guys are always entertaining.
While there is so much you can say about the personality of Mac DeMarco and his band, you can’t take anything away from their playing. It’s crazy how tight they are together, yet how loose their approach to performing is. It’s a laid back, anything goes kind of live show; little is calculated, and everything is fun.
Mac and friends finished the night with ‘Still Together’, as they often do. Big fans of his are aware that Mac will usually stage dive and crowd surf during the lengthy instrumental break. He did so, and in one of the more unfortunate occurrences of this, a few people managed to drop him, and it took some time to get him back up, as a few audience members got a bit aggressive. The band were forced to stop playing momentarily, but usual service was resumed once Mac got back to the stage, and the song was finished properly.
I guess this kind of thing can happen at any venue, anywhere you go, and it’s not like the situation managed to tarnish the gig. The band were incredible, it was an amazing show,full of great playing and great humour. I recommend seeing Mac DeMarco live to anyone and everyone.