8/11/15 – The Royale

The line stretched half a city block down to Elliot Norton Park. Conversation ranged from how hard tickets were to find to favorite brands of cigarettes. A young man complained about how difficult it was to find a store that sold Viceroy, Mac DeMarco’s brand of choice. At exactly 8 PM the line shot into the building.

“Jerry, Jerry!” chanted the audience, just like a certain classy daytime television show. A pasty-white man walked onto the stage wearing only a silk bathrobe, white socks, round tortoise glasses, and a headset microphone. The chanting was all for Lucas Nathan, who takes the stage as his alter ego Jerry Paper. The reason for the wireless headset microphone became immediately apparent — Nathan sang with his entire body.

He writhed and wiggled, hands weaving a tapestry out of his illustrious voice. With eyes clenched tight his neck stretched upward, veins bulging with effort to hit just the right note. His only instrument was a cheap, rudimentary synthesizer. The low-fi reproductions of instruments ticked along with the fidelity of a Speak and Spell. Behind him bizarre animations of distorted figures pulsed and twisted. His lyrics were mostly heavy poetic insights into the dark side of Western culture. He had a bone to pick with the way the world was set up long before he even entered it. Despite his qualms with capitalism — among other things — he plugged his merchandise once before humbly exiting the stage. A man’s gotta eat!

Mac DeMarco and company entered the stage to a frenzy of anxious fans, some of whom had been waiting in line for hours to guarantee that they were the first inside.  Mac DeMarco introduced himself in his signature goof-ball Canadian cadence, before opening with “The Way You’d Love Her”, off the new mini-LP Another One, and “Salad Days”, from his highly successful LP of the same name. The audience clearly knew and loved every tune — DeMarco and the band sported radiant smiles as the rowdy crowd chimed in with gusto again and again.

DeMarco does little that’s vocally challenging, yet there is an endearing character to his voice. He also has an incredible knack for writing unusual, jangly riffs. When he bends notes his fingers wiggle like Jello; the man oozes with style.

To those who have never caught DeMarco live, the frisky cover of Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ in the Years” was a surprise. It was nothing special, but it broke up the relaxed set with something uptempo and energetic. DeMarco handed a bottle of Jameson into the crowd. Baseball caps spun onto the stage with an odd bra here and there. A couple was ballroom dancing on the balcony during the closer “Still Together,” while glowing lighters floated over the crowd below. A lone crowd surfer made his way into the less-than-welcoming arms of a bouncer. Most notably, everyone had a hell of a time hitting the long, drawn-out high notes of “Still Together.” DeMarco milked that chorus for all it was worth and the merrymaking continued till the last drop.

Not a single person budged when Mac and his band left the stage; the encore chant was impossible to ignore. Guitarist, Andy White, who loves to tell the audience to “shut up” when he is expressing one of his insights, botched the irresistibly catchy synth line of the encore, “Chamber of Reflection.” Thankfully he tightened it up before too long. One crazed fan hopped on stage and hugged DeMarco and Bassist Pierce McGarry before being swiftly removed from the venue. DeMarco finished off the night by diving into the audience. DeMarco and the boys proved once again that they know how to have a damn good time and bring everyone along with them.

Reelin' in the Years: Mac DeMarco
Pros
  • Happy audience
  • Stage divin'
  • Loooong high notes in "Stay Together." Like the Lion King theme song.
Cons
  • Botched synth line
  • Guitarist telling the audience to shut up
8.4Good Times

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