We Saw This: Mac DeMarco

By Charlie Ambler

"Buncha fuckin' goofballs," a beanie-clad man standing next to me exclaimed to no one in particular as he double-fisted Webster Hall pints and saw self-proclaimed "slacker-rock" musician Mac DeMarco. DeMarco's live show and latest record, 2, feel like a simultaneous wonderful breath of fresh air, and wonderful breath of fresh pot smoke. What's immediately obvious about Mac and his band is that they're genuinely enjoying what they're doing. For too long have I seen full Webster-sized concert halls with some painfully self-conscious whiny Bon Iver-worshipping schmuck opener expecting everyone's pathos. Call me a simpleton, but I much prefer Mac's toothy grin, alcoholic antics, and raw funky riffs.  

DeMarco and his band clearly had a great time, and by the transitive property of rock 'n' roll, so did I.  At one point they lapsed into a musical medley that included 30-second snippets of both Dave Brubeck and Limp Bizkit. The bassist and guitarist fondled one another onstage. Everyone put their guitars on their backs and started doing pushups. Finally, Mac himself stage-dived Canadian-style by asking the crowd's permission first. The stage antics were only punctuation for a tight set, though. Kicking off with some stuff from Rock 'n' Roll Night Club before breezing through recent favorites like "My Kind of Woman" and "Ode to Viceroy," Mac concluded with a lounge-singer variation of "Still Together" that made everybody feel real good. 

If DeMarco's performance wasn't enough of an affirmation of my hopes for the future of live rock music, Ty Segall followed. VICE has already written a review of a Ty Segall concert in September. I was at that show also and I don't know if it had something to do with the Lunar Calendar or Obama's reelection or something, but Friday night kicked its ass. So now we're gonna talk about it. 

Ty played some heavier fare from 2012's Slaughterhouse as well as old favorites from Melted and Twins. The energy in the room was only improved by the venue's appropriately blaring volume, and a charitable group of rocker-chick groupie girls kindly lifting their shirts for a thrilled mostly teenage-male audience. Ty and beloved bassist Mikal Cronin ended the set with a gloriously deranged feedback loop and everyone was happy. This was as well-rounded and joyfully raucous as 2013 New York rock shows get, as far as I'm concerned.  

On my way out, I found Mac Demarco at the merch table. I shook his hand and wished I had cash on-hand to buy a record. Instead of moving along to the next sweaty goon fan, he gave me a record and talked for a bit. I asked him if he wanted to say anything to VICE and he quietly contemplated the question before replying mock-coldly, "Say this: Yeah Beeyotch."   

Every time I go to a show intending to write something for VICE I get free stuff. Thank you, America.  

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