Striding onto the stage of his biggest UK show to date, Mac DeMarco is accompanied by the Godfather theme tune. He waltzs his way across the stage, immediately dispelling any lingering doubts that his new acoustic direction has changed him. The mammoth crowd breath a collective sigh of relief – Mac is still Mac.
It’s never been entirely about the music at a Mac DeMarco show; he’s a born entertainer and his madness is a mentality that spreads through the crowd. That’s not to take anything away from the songs though. Tonight is a party and Mac’s melodies are inducing it. The crowd are basking in the summery glow radiating from the stage. Everyone is here to have a good time and that really comes across. From the first chord of “Cooking Up Something Good” people are dancing without a care in the world.
On his recently released fourth record, This Old Dog, Mac took a more acoustic direction and these new tracks really held their own throughout the set. The title track was met with one of the largest cheers of the night and the mesmerising “On A Level” was treated like an old favourite.
The biggest reactions were saved for moments from his breakout album 2 however: the romantic croon to cigarettes “Ode To Viceroy” and the bouncy guitar of “Freaking Out The Neighbourhood.” Both songs received the kind of rapturous reception you expect when Muse drop the first riff from “Hysteria” headlining Glasto, not for the jangling guitars of a cult hero.
What makes tonight one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to however, is not the music – it’s Mac. It’s moments like when he took a 5 minute break to declare his adoration for the salt beef bagels of Brick Lane, that make his shows so unique. He even started a call and response chant for cured meat; pure insanity, but nothing but entertaining.
The highlight of the show came at its climax: an encore would have been too normal. What ensued, started out as the romantic finale “Still Together,” dedicated to his friends that has just recently got engaged, but became a half hour show no one in the crowd will ever forget.
The romantic croon morphed into a Vanessa Carlton cover with Mac and band howling “making my way downtown” as the only lyrics, before rattling into Crazy Town’s “Butterfly.” It then became the Chilli Peppers’ “Can’t Stop” and then a 10 verse punk version of “I’m Henry VIII I Am,” the ridiculous 60s pop song originally by Herman’s Hermits. All this time Mac was pulling topless shapes on every inch of the stage. It was unadulterated madness, but it not only created ecstasy in the crowd, the itself spectacle seemed to be what the emotion would look and sound like.
The whole show ended with Mac hurling himself into the crowd, to be carried around the entirety of the bottom floor of Brixton. He was a man on a mission and the fans were more than happy to carry their idol wherever he wanted to go.
No other act on the circuit commands the same devotion as Mac, this show at Brixton was proof of why.