How would one describe a Mac DeMarco concert? It’s a combination of awe-inspiring musicianship from the 27 year-old Canadian mixed with the utter hilarity of witnessing his spontaneous and unpredictable onstage antics. After two years, DeMarco finally returned to Seattle in support of his new record, This Old Dog. Backed up by California duo The Garden, DeMarco delivered an explosive performance to a sold out Moore Theatre on both September 10th and 11th.
The Garden took the stage at 8:00 p.m. sharp and left a small portion of the crowd incredibly hyped, but the majority confused. The Garden’s music is a melting pot of genres- in fact, in order to avoid labels and categorization, twins Fletcher and Wyatt Shears invented their OWN genre, called “Vada Vada.” Throughout The Garden’s set, electronic, alternative rock and punk music blended together with the rich, deep voices of the Shears twins. Sometimes yelling, sometimes singing, and occasionally just talking through their instrumentals, The Garden’s set was completely unpredictable. Their noisy and slightly strange music didn’t seem to sit well with a lot of people, but fans of the group went wild when songs from their new EP such as “U Want The Scoop?” and “All Access” were played. It was slightly disappointing that they failed to play their more popular tracks, like “Egg” and “California Here We Go,” but apart from the strange setlist decision, The Garden’s performance was interesting, charismatic and unique.
As soon as headliner Mac Demarco stepped onto the stage, the entire population of the Moore rose to their feet , producing thunderous applause. Beginning his set with “On the Level,” a single from This Old Dog, DeMarco wasted no time showcasing his talent as a musician to his adoring audience. The first couple songs were played without disruption, and then, things got weird.
If you’ve never seen Mac live, it’s important to know that nothing is held back and anything goes while he’s onstage. Many attendees seemed to know this already, so the amount of stage banter and audience participation between songs was actually ridiculous. For example, after two guys in the front row wouldn’t stop heckling him, (jokingly, of course) Mac called them upstage and made them massage the shoulders of his keyboardist and drummer for a couple minutes.
If there’s another thing you need to know about DeMarco, it’s that he doesn’t half-ass anything. He extended the playtime of a couple songs off of the setlist, and the longer he played, the more over-the-top they became. The audience LOST IT after hearing the piano opening of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles,” but excitement quickly faded into confusion as for the entire song, Mac only sang the first line: “MAKIN” MY WAY DOWNTOWN…” This one-line cover went on for literally 15 minutes as the tempo was slowed down, then played at double speed, and so on.
Near the end of his set, Mac did it again with a 10 minute rendition of “Moonlight On The River.” As guitar reverb echoed through the theatre and DeMarco’s vocals faded out, he skillfully karate-kicked his amp with a running start, then did the same with his mic stand. He proceeded to swing his microphone around his head like a lasso for the rest of the guitar solo, which was nearly drowned out by audience applause by the end of it.
There were also quite a few touching moments of the show. Despite his eccentricity, DeMarco can write a love song like nobody’s business. A highlight of the night came with Mac serenaded the crowd with a stripped down version of “My Kind of Woman” on bended knees, convincing everyone in attendance to fall in love with him through his beautiful and poetic lyrics.
The night ended with the psychedelic, dreamy track “Chamber of Reflection.” Typically during his closing song, DeMarco jumps into the crowd or does something just as wild, but doubts were rising because the show was seated rather than general admission. But what would a Mac Demarco concert be without a little crowd surfing? He managed to pull the crowd out of their seats and cluster them together, and was then able to continue the tradition of the crowdsurf.
Mac DeMarco’s shows will never get old because they’re never the same. I don’t know what I was expecting going in, but DeMarco exceeded any preconceived thoughts that I may have had about his performance. The showmanship and musical expertise that both The Garden and Mac DeMarco displayed September 10th was thrilling, infatuating and delightfully bizarre as a whole. Who could have asked for anything more?
Check out more photos from the show HERE.