Since Mac DeMarco’s last appearance at the Biltmore, he has skyrocketed into indie rock megastardom. His shit-eating, gap-toothed grin and twangy riffs have manifested into a cult of personality made of anthropomorphic doobies. An army of slacker boys and slacker girls clouded in smoke and beer-mist queued outside his sold-out show.
The set started early (at 9:15 PM) and was peppered with songs from Mac’s entire catalogue, starting with the title-track from his latest album, Salad Days. Bouncing up and down, arms in the air, the crowd was loose and slowly being pumped with beer and second-hand high. Mac chugged some beer and baptized those in the front row with his Holy Lager. After that, beer flung around like confetti at a shitty birthday party. Up and down and side to side. A rogue can arched over the crowd and found my head, a glancing blow that sprayed my glasses and tee with PBR. No problem. I sucked the residue out of my shirt and kept jumping. Let’s go.
The dance floor felt like a living room at one of those parties with a half-pipe in the backyard. The place was a sweatbox. Beer everywhere, man. Fans rushed the front of the stage for a better view or huddled by the sides for safety. A parade of crowd-surfers torpedoed head-first into the pit throughout the night. Heavy falls and gymnast-like recoveries. Even Mac joined in on the fun for a crowd-surf through a jammy, extended version of “Still Together” near the end of the night. Microphone in hand, he belted out the chorus in his high-pitched style. He made it all the way to the side, near the booths, and managed to give someone a hug while still in the clutches of the surf.
Part of the band’s charisma is their knack for spewing random verbal diarrhea. Bassist Pierce McGarry, for example, proclaimed his love for Doritos between songs: “Does anyone like Doritos as much as I do?” The toddler-sized angel wings he wore seemed to have only been a set up for a joke near the end of the set: “I didn’t know if you guys know this, but Red Bull gives you wings.”
Mac’s Rock and Roll Night Club persona bleeds into his banter with deep-voiced antics that sound like a demented radio DJ. “I’m a Man”, “Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans”, and “Rock and Roll Night Club” all appeared as part of the “oldies” section of the set.
The set was great from start to finish. People were jizzed. People were jazzed. In his own unorthodox way, Mac is a rock star. His personality makes up such a large part of his popularity. He’s the Average Joe everyone can get behind. He smokes cigarettes. He drinks beer. He likes Steely Dan. He’s not some slicked up boner in a 1000-dollar suit. He’s a grimy dude in camo overalls and beat-up shoes. He’s the life of the party with a guitar strapped over his shoulder, and he’s talented. Everybody wants to be his pal. Forget the Girl Next Door – he’s the Boy Next Door with Beer.
The night ended with a cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” that bled into Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”, a funny cap on the end of a great set. Playing songs from each of his major LPs, Mac pleased new fans and old with a complete catalogue of material.
DeMarco seemed humbled by the turnout. From his days in Makeout Videotape playing around Vancouver, booking small venues around town, to selling out nights at two different venues is a testament to his success. With his charm combined with his songwriting skills, Mac’s popularity will only rise if he continues to hold both qualities to the same level. He’s in touch with his fans, and his fans love him for it.
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