By Jared Allen
November 21, 2018
Mac DeMarco is unconventional. Performing inside a retired church under religious stained glass windows, the indie rocker’s stage is set with a handful of diverse props and oddities that he likely picked up at a few different antique malls on his way to Charlotte, N.C. There’s a selection of skulls, three large plastic holiday candles, a framed portrait of a dog (likely someone else’s), an oversized baby bottle, and a motion sensor halloween mannequin that detaches its head from its body if you wave your hand in front of it — which Mac did many times with a chuckle.
DeMarco donned a forest green fishing jacket decorated with a few pins under a retro red Yamaha cap and cuffed baggy blue jeans to show off his vibrant orange tube socks. Not to mention, he performed solo without his band, which is a first for both him and everyone in attendance.
He kicked off with “Salad Days,” a mellow and easy-going tune that set the mood for the night. DeMarco insisted that he and the seated audience were there to keep it casual and simply hang out, a relaxing setting the singer-songwriter thrived in. He’d play a song, then tell a story. Play a song, tell a story. At times it was hard to judge which the crowd enjoyed more.
While “Still Beating” garnered a loud applause, the crowd laughed in unison at DeMarco’s story about a small restaurant in Iceland that had a lifelike wax statue of its 80-year-old owner and served the world’s best lobster bisque. More laughter followed when he told the story about his band mate’s cat named Annie, which was “smoked” by a car under Mac’s supervision when his band mate went away on vacation.
DeMarco connected with his fans and joked with them throughout the night. He picked out a few and held one-on-one conversations with each, notably a gentleman in the front row named Chandler, who DeMarco just referred to as Chandler Bing and Chand.
This camaraderie building was key to the show. Without a band by his side, DeMarco asked his devout fans to fill in the missing tunes, guitar solos and forgotten lyrics by singing them. 100 percent unconventional, but in this intimate setting it never felt out of place. With each acoustic song and each zany story, the crowd loosened up and by the time DeMarco reached “My Old Man” midway through the set, the audience was wholeheartedly singing the lyrics back to him.
After switching to his electric guitar and then over to his keyboard for “My Kind of Woman,” he declared “Still Together” would be his final song of the night. He dedicated the track to his longtime girlfriend Kiera, who DeMarco kept looking for over his right shoulder hoping she’d peek out from backstage. The crowd sang louder and louder with each chorus before rising to a roaring standing applause when DeMarco finished, waved and walked of stage.
Even though he returned to play “Watching Him Fade Away,” the standing ovation confirmed the audience’s admiration and put the cherry on top of a charming, yet unconventional night.
Check out the remaining dates for Mac DeMarco’s solo tour.