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Coley Brown

Mac’s Back With A Bang

 

Mac DeMarco walks a tightrope. It’s a tightrope that, at one moment, has him divulging smooth, intimate melodies to the crowd in a wave of honeyed serenity, and the next, erupting into a mad-cap cackle, bouncing up and down like the schoolboy that his signature cap is so evocative of. As the Nambucca crowd sings on into the night, it becomes ever clearer how much of an expert Mac is at walking that tightrope, and why, in a few years, this could be looked back on as a very special night indeed.

It’s barely half-past nine when Mac takes the stage to the raucous applause of a crowd who are only set to get rowdier. Carlsberg can in hand, it’s not long before the sweet stylings of The Stars Keep Calling My Name ring out towards the bar at the back of the room, swiftly followed by the – admittedly less tuneful – tones of the crowd. The first track sets a precedent for the rest of the night, as constant yelps and woops burst from the gathered masses, and Mac reciprocates with a sometimes-giddy-sometimes-cool air of glee that adds to the already bubbly energy that permeates the intimate setting.

This changeability in tonight’s host is a large part of what keeps the night so endearingly engaging as the hours breeze past. At one time asking the audience very calmly, and with a hint of a wry smile, to settle down, and at others leading two separate chants in honour of his mother Agnes and girlfriend Kiera, DeMarco manipulates the room with ease, sharing anecdotes and readily proclaiming his joy and gratitude and the presence of the crowd, and keeping everyone hooked in the process.

It’s just Mac on stage. Unaided by the usual band that can be found on his usual, larger outings, the “lo-fi-ness” of his lo-fi sound is inescapable and perfect for the occasion. The jaunty, self-described “jizz jazz” emanating from the lone guitar couples beautifully with the lonely-heart style lyrics we’ve come to know and love from the Canadian, and the confidence of the set makes the prospect of Mac making the whole shebang a completely solo show seem like a very tempting one indeed. It doesn’t seem like the Nambucca crowd would mind at all.

The encapsulated audience play their part in making this a special night to perfection as well. In full voice from the word go, and readily shouting encouragement, jokes and requests that Mac is all-too-happy to grant, they make the night feel more like a conversation than a concert. From Let Her Go, through Ode to Viceroy, all the way to the mammoth, bizarre conclusion of Still Together, which sees Mac surf the crowd back to the bar for a drink, and back to the stage again, neither artist nor crowd lets up, each giving energy, life, and spectacle to a stand out night in North London.

With a new album forthcoming, and further UK shows lined up to celebrate, Mac DeMarco is going from strength to strength. And if what’s to come is anything close to the masterclass of this outing, then this will prove to be a big step on a special journey that only stands to get even better.

Words by Ben Kitto

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