The audience at the Warfield on Saturday night was filled with teenagers.
This was no surprise, considering 26-year old Mac DeMarco is a bit of a god in the hipster world. His popularity is in large part due to his music’s easy to follow, melodious chord progressions and the chillness that everything DeMarco does seems to emanate. When the band finally came onstage DeMarco yelled, “Wassssuuuuppp.” He is certainly cool, and certainly accustomed to venues filled with smoke. They began the show with “The Way You’d Love Her,” from Another One (2015). Guitarist and keyboardist Andrew White pointed out, “That was a pop song and some of you in the front were already hitting each other.”
DeMarco and his band were clearly comfortable on stage. Confidently goofy and more than a little strange, DeMarco himself never stopped moving and, like the floor crowd, was feisty. When picking up the bass for a song, DeMarco hopped around stage, legs kicking. Later he would rip the cap off a beer bottle with his teeth and ask the crowd whether they had pooped in their pants tonight, because it “happens to the best of us. There’s no shame,” he declared.
Requesting that the lights be brighter, DeMarco took a photo of the crowd with a disposable camera. Throughout the night everyone sang along to favorites like “Let Her Go,” “Salad Days,” “Cooking Up Something Good,” “Ode to Viceroy,” and “The Stars Keep On Calling My Name,” the latter of which prompted DeMarco to encourage and partake in booty shaking. Between songs he would frequently shriek, use a variety of voices both high- and low-pitched, and laugh manically. For such a lively performance, the Warfield was limiting. The stage, for one, was already a party and looked crowded. At least 15 to 20 people were on stage beside the band, making up their friends and family. The music also seemed constrained—an open space, one in which DeMarco’s signature sound could truly radiate, would have been more appropriate.
In the middle of the set a taco rant suddenly ensued, with DeMarco dissing both Taco Bell and Chipotle. “Those motherfuckers,” he exclaimed, saying the next song was dedicated to real crunch wraps. The song they played was “My Kind of Woman.”
During “Freaking Out the Neighborhood,” DeMarco volunteered his bassist Jon Lent’s younger brother, Robin, to the crowd. Robin crowdsurfed the entire song and when it finished DeMarco asked politely, “Now bring the baby brother back.” The band ended the evening with “Chamber of Reflection” and “Still Together.” At that point, DeMarco fell back on the stage and then sat up contently, holding his beer high, as if saluting the crowd. Music continued to play, including a solo by White, when DeMarco got up and crowd surfed his way to the bar, spoke to the bartender, ordered a drink, and surfed back to the stage. The audience was delighted. As he swam back he borrowed someone’s Homer Simpson mask and put it on while on stage, only to return to the crowd soon after, leaping back into a sea of high fives. Finally, with the energy level still high, the show subsided.
“Keep it real the rest of your life,” DeMarco directed us. One would expect nothing less of him and his show. That being said the performance fell short musically, saved only by the band’s charm. Not only are DeMarco’s songs usually short, they seemed to be even shorter when played live, each of them starting and ending with what seemed like little care for detail. For an artist with four studio albums and countless EPs and demos (including an impressive instrumental mixtape called BBQ Soundtrack released last year), DeMarco could have given us much more than he did.
Article by Valerie Law