TARA CARLIN reviews Mac Demarco’s performance at the Forum earlier this year.
For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past couple of years and don’t know who Mac Demarco is, listen up. McBriare Samuel Lanyon Demarco is a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter whose musical style is a chilled and cathartic exploration of lo-fi and indie. Or, in Demarco’s own words, “jizz jazz”. So what is it about this gap-toothed goofball that causes so much excitement?
Whether contrived or not, he has a hilariously playful persona and likes to stretch the boundaries of acceptable public behavior when performing. In fact, he has no qualms about getting in his birthday suit in front of his audience. On Friday 14th November he was arrested at his gig in Santa Barbara for crowd surfing and climbing the venue’s ceiling beams. Just watch any interview with this scruffy joker and you’ll see for yourself what an absurd character he is.
Although he has previously released four studio albums, it is only in the past year that Mac Demarco’s success has rapidly soared. Due to stellar demand, he has extended his European tour this year, having recently sold out the Forum which has over a 2,000-seat capacity. The release of Salad Days on April 1st resulted in mostly positive reviews, including an impressive 8.5 from Pitchfork. In addition, the album was shortlisted for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize. Some say that, due to his rapid rise in fame, his gigs are slowly becoming less silly and more serious.
So, was this the case when I saw him at the Forum on November 25th? Thankfully, the answer remains no. Despite having been on an exhausting and prolonged tour, Mac Demarco and his band delivered a show that was both ludicrous and lively, as per usual. A typical moment came when the bassist Homeshake dumped some sweets thrown to him by the appreciative audience whilst roaring, “This looks like sh*t!”
Music-wise, the set list catered to fans both old and new, with material spanning from his two studio albums released in 2012 to Salad Days. He played all the greatest hits such as ‘Cooking Up Something Good’ and ‘Rock And Roll Nightclub’ as well as lesser-known songs such as ‘Passing Out Pieces’ and the more experimental ‘Chamber of Reflection’. No moment of his 90-minute set was gratuitous; he even managed to fit in some controversial jokes during the eclectic mix of tracks.
As previously stated, there are rumours that Mac Demarco has intentions of becoming more serious – he recently told NME that recording Salad Days ‘stopped him from being a little butthole’. There is definitely a much more pensive and sombre tone throughout Salad Days in comparison to his previous album 2. However, it is clear that he doesn’t plan on taking himself too seriously anytime soon, having told the Guardian this year that ‘there’s always a little tongue in the cheek’. All in all, his gig at the Forum merits a solid five stars.
Want to know more about this fruity fun-lover? Watch Pitchfork’s ‘Macumentary’: