After the release of his most recent album, This Old Dog, Mac Demarco embarked upon a world tour that journeyed from the USA to Europe to South America and back again. As a member of the Facebook group Mac Demarco Cigposting at the beginning of the year, I followed the stories and memes as he travelled from gig to gig leaving a wake of rumours and anecdotes about his escapades on stage. Eventually he arrived in Liverpool to play at the largest capacity gig venue in the city, The Mountford Hall.
As the show sold out months ago, there was a considerable number of people trawling through ticket selling groups and it seemed as if every person and their dog wanted to go to the gig. The anticipation was only heightened further when the stories of the covers Mac was playing at other dates started to come through: AC/DC, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Lynyrd Skynyrd and The La’s. We wondered what covers we would be graced with.
When it came to the night, we donned our baseball caps, baggy flannel shirts and viceroys and crammed ourselves into The Mountford Hall. A voice-over introduced Mac as “riddled with disease”, beginning the trend of self-derision and childishness that formulates Mac Demarco’s humour. Cracking straight on with the first single released off his new album, On The Level, the crowd were immediately singing along and loving every second. Following it up with perhaps his most popular song Salad Days, the crowd realised that he wasn’t messing around and we were going to be treated to an eclectic and varied selection of songs.
The rest of the set was interspersed with songs from his new album and old classics that have come to define Mac Demarco’s music. This Old Dog was followed by the now expected audience chant of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ and Mac and his band followed suit with their first impromptu cover of Seven Nation Army. Ode to Viceroy, an old time favourite, erupted through the audience and the first mosh pit of the night opened up before me. The band followed with classic after classic: Freaking Out the Neighborhood, a stripped back version of My Kind of Woman and Chamber of Reflection.
For the latter part of the show, we were treated to a number of different covers including Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Van Halen, and the inevitable Beatles covers. Perhaps the most entertaining was the cover of 50 Cent’s In Da Club – yes, you heard me right. Mac and the band’s drummer switched places and he stumbled through the verses whilst the crowd shouted back the instantly recognisable chorus. It didn’t matter that it was probably the worst cover of 50 Cent done on stage because that was the whole style of the show – no pretentiousness, just maximum fun.
In between each song Mac cracked jokes, jumped off amps doing mid air splits, and generally performed the Mac Demarco character that we all know and love. Through this performance he built up a considerable repertoire with the audience and reinforced the strength of his cult following. A following which is centred not only around his music but the uniquely grungy yet endearing character he is
How do you captivate an audience? Character – and Mac Demarco has no shortage of this. From his mid air acrobatics to self-depreciating humour and wholesome fun attitude, it was impossible not to be drawn up into Mac Demarco’s cult. But its not just about his character. Mac Demarco’s skill as a lyricist and songwriter was evident throughout the gig and his songs reflect his complex character. It’s difficult not to be endeared by Mac Demarco, and why should you try?
Image credit: Gary Coughlan from Getintothis