Live Music Review: Mac DeMarco at Rock City

Words: Ashley Morris
Photos: Tasha Shipston
Sunday 26 November 2017
reading time: min, words

Touring in support of his latest album This Old Dog, the Canadian 'indie slacker' came to Nottingham. We headed down to his show and also managed to grab him for a quick chat...


"I mean, I got locked out of the venue when we went to get some food, gotten lost down some alleyway and had a shoe thrown at me...but it's no big deal, I guess".

DeMarco shrugs when I ask about his thoughts on Nottingham. Perhaps, to the Canadian artist it really was "no big deal". Known for being, in part, the lovable indie buffoon that he is, the drum solos, speeches on the EU, star jumps and skipping with the microphone wire was nothing less than expected - Nottingham got exactly we asked for.

Mac is something of a cult phenomenon, a totally anachronistic character, who just entices you into his eerie and eccentric world. DeMarco acts as the poster boy of the whole ‘indie slacker’ scene, and through the apparel of the crowd this style is clear as worn caps, denim jackets, and flannel shirts with holes, like his, are all in abundance. After meeting Mac earlier and after the evening, it became clear to me just why he’s loved so much; he’s funny, he’s down to earth, and he’s just got a vibe that makes you feel like you’re best friends. A fine mix of regular yet extraordinary. However, this slacker is no slouch.

Mac begins the set with his biggest track from the newly released album This Old Dog with On The Level. "Boy, this could be your year..." He sings over lite-funk keys and a curdled synthesiser melody whilst the crowd whoop and cheer.

He continues the night with more songs from the acoustic-heavy album including My Old Man, For the First Time, and Moonlight On The River. A song in which he begrudgingly admitted had its dissonance ending inspired by The Beatles song She's So Heavy, telling me: “I think, well I do love the Beatles, and even if I were to say no that wouldn’t be the case.”

These tracks expressed an overall sobering assessment, showcasing the growth within DeMarco's demeanour, numbers that were designed for introspection.

This was soon to take a turn back to his well-known chain smoking intensity and drunken pratfalls when Ode To Viceroy is played, a song fittingly dedicated to Mac's trusty cigarette brand.

The highlight of the night, which was already a night filled with them, must be one of the final songs My Kind Of Woman where the crowd did not fail to impress Mac with the echoing back of the lyrics. The entire room was elevated, and the mood was near cerebral when singing the synthy renditions.

The finale became vigour and playful when Mac took a step back to take a turn on the drums while the actual drummer sang (screamed) classics from Under The Bridge to There She Goes.

“Music can sometimes be very cold and robotic, y’know like crafts work, but I just like making some fun tunes.”

This became evident when the night eventually leads to a crowd surf, which still electrified the crowd as he reclined, wide gap-toothed smile on his face, and floated atop his devoted fans.

Mac DeMarco was at Rock City on Monday 20 November 2017. 

Mac DeMarco website

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