Indie rock sensation Mac Demarco is on a nationwide tour in support of his latest album This Old Dog. And what he brings to his fans is a show like no other. I was able to catch his show at The Mann Center in Philadelphia on September 24th. Never had I experienced a concert in which so much of the entertainment came from stage quirks and jokes from the performer. Demarco let his personality shine and he interacted with the crowd throughout the night, keeping everyone thoroughly entertained.
Mac opened the show with “On the Level,” a spacey synth-heavy single off of This Old Dog. Eight of the seventeen tracks performed from his discography were taken from his latest album. As a whole, he seemed to perform a majority of slower songs, including “One More Love Song” and “Still Together,” but treated fans to the upbeat vibes of the Salad Days title track and 2’s “The Stars Keep Calling My Name,” among others. The show itself was entertaining, interactive, and musically pleasing all in one, giving fans much more than just live music.
Demarco interacted with the audience throughout the night, making his connection to the crowd more genuine. He would often respond to the shouted comments of random fans and talk to certain people within the crowd. He brought a fan named Sean on stage to play lead guitar for the song “Freak Out the Neighborhood” and had the crowd cheering the fan’s name while he played, making for what was sure to be an unforgettable moment for the young man. Demarco himself sounded great, despite announcing that he was in the midst of fighting a cold. Warmhearted moments ensued as Demarco asked his crowd of fans which of them in the crowd have lovers. He then played This Old Dog cut ”One More Love Song” followed by the 2012 “My Kind of Woman,” which had the crowd singing the chorus back to Demarco.
Demarco had a number of onstage quirks that let his personality shine. He often spoke in a deep raspy voice that sounded reminiscent to that of Beetlejuice. He showed us a card trick which ended up being “52 Pickup.” And after the crowd started chanting “daddy,” he brought out a young man to teach them how to say “mommy,” which, later in the show, turned into a back and forth between the man and the crowd yelling “mommy” with increasing speed. Demarco further enticed fans with a cheesesteak scavenger hunt of sorts, announcing that he was going out to go eat “two or three” cheesesteaks after the show. He urged fans to come find him so he can meet some of them, leaving the specific shop he planned on visiting a mystery.
It was a long show, lasting nearly 2 hours long. The last 45 minutes of the show started to spiral into absurdity and madness as Mac and the band got more rowdy. They asked the audience “who in the crowd has parents?” followed by “who has cousins?” And then finally: “who wants to die tonight?” which made the crowd cheer with enthusiasm. At this, I watched a security guard in front of the stage look nervously at his coworker and give a thumbs down. That gave me a good laugh. Mac announced that he had two songs left and went on to perform what is probably his most popular song, “chamber of Reflection,” and a cut from his album 2, “Still Together.” And somewhere in there he kicked over a speaker on stage.
But the show was far from over after those “last two songs.” He then covered the choruses of a sling of different popular songs. These included Van Halen’s “Running with the Devil,” Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” and Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kiss Me.” After this chaotic, unorganized performance he left the stage. The fans shouted for one more song and he came back out to give it to them. The mood took a complete 180 as Mac had everyone sit down for his intimate performance of “Watching Him Fade Away.” It was a mellow end to a concert of many different moods. It was the strangest and most entertaining concert I had ever been to. No big flashy stage props or special effects were needed – just lots of personality. It was one hell of a show and Mac Demarco is one hell of a performer.
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