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Review: Mac DeMarco Live Review (31/05/2017)

Image credits: Alicia Fowler
Image credits: Alicia Fowler
Image Credits: Alicia Fowler

“The demon is inside of me!” Mac announces one song into his second sold-out show at the Brixton Academy. He’s just performed his most famous and arguably most catchy song, ‘Salad Days’, from the eponymous album he released in 2014. Mac then jumps into songs from his newest album This Old Dog, shyly asking if he’s allowed to play them since “they’re new”. Mac cleverly intersperses songs from his most recent, more sombre album perfectly with his older, more classic songs. ‘For the First Time’ blends seamlessly into ‘The Stars Keep on Calling My Name’, for example. This all goes on while Mac grins with his characteristically gap-toothed beam, holding a beer aloft and seeming utterly bemused when the young fans at the front of the stage (a mere few days ahead of the election) begin to chant: “Corbyn! Corbyn!”.

“Who’s Corbyn?” Mac asks… “I have a cousin called Corbyn, why are you chanting his name?”. The crowd totally embraces Mac’s lovingly corny attitude, “awwing” when Mac devotes his songs to his girlfriend, Keira McNally who’s at home in Los Angeles. Most impressively, Mac inspires the crowd to hold aloft real lighters (like a true retro eighties throwback) during ‘One More Love Song’ and ‘Ode to Viceroy’ (a song fittingly dedicated to Mac’s trusty Canadian cigarette brand). And, towards the end of his show, the demon he promised at the beginning begins to emerge. Of course, Mac takes off his t-shirt when his fans ask him to, a predictable turn of events for the seemingly perpetually topless Mac. Swigging directly from a bottle of Jameson’s whisky, Mac leaps around the stage to a hefty guitar solo, throwing his characteristic red Vans into the audience. At one point Mac and his bandmate even take it in turns to see who can throw their guitar the farthest. It is crazy, but it is undeniably the charming Mac DeMarco.

The highlight of the night, which was a night filled with highlights, has to be the last few songs: ‘My Kind of Woman’, ‘Moonlight on the River’ (another new song), ‘Chamber of Reflection’ and, finally, ‘Still Together’. The crowd’s mood was remarkable after Mac had truly warmed them up. Mac, too, was elated (and maybe a little drunk). The only negative point of the night had to be some of the crowd’s insistence on moshing to anything, including Mac’s slow, synthy rendition of ‘This Old Dog’ – a number designed, I had presumed, specifically for introspection. Regardless of this, Mac delivered in two respects: the demon did, indeed, make an appearance. Most importantly, though, so did Mac. And he did not disappoint.