Gig Review: Mac DeMarco

Live at Scala, 28.10.13

Jonathan Richman is Mac Demarco’s role model as “it seems like he’s just had a very enjoyable time his whole life”. Judging by his Scala show, Mac doesn’t seem to be struggling to replicate this lifestyle. He’s not blind to the bad, but he manages not to let it get him down: post-crowd surf, shoe in his mouth, he retained a cheeky smile, saying “You punks are tryna steal my shoe, but I’ve got you”; in a rare moment of sincerity he wistfully paid tribute to Lou Reed, but then launched into “Rock and Roll Night Club” with his usual enthusiasm, having realised that he might as well enjoy himself while he can.

As a suitable preface, the freaky Aldous RH played a set of genre-hopping lo-fi songs, and anticipated Mac’s covers with “How Deep Is Your Love?”. Upon entrance, Mac stated his intentions, something along the lines of “Very sexy very chill let’s have a good time”. This was backed up straightaway with the addictive groove of “Cooking Up Something Good”. Throughout the whole show the line up remained exactly the same: two guitars, a bass and drums, and not even one replacement guitar.

Despite this, the possibility of repetition and boredom was very far away. The gig was bizarre and brilliant; bassist Pierce, donning a side-flap cap and looking like a garden gnome from a children’s comic, even filled tuning breaks with jokes he’d written down on his iPod touch: “I was up all night pondering an age old question”, he tells the audience. “Do the drapes match the carpet?”. Two or three songs into the set he, deadpan, says “We’ve got a few more left for you, thanks for coming out tonight”. They shoved around ten covers into the middle of “She’s Really All I Need”, ranging from Limp Bizkit, a comic-then-metal cover of “Blackbird”, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Metallica, “Stairway To Heaven” in the voice of an old Scottish witch with crude lyric changes, Frankie Valli, etc. as well as forcing the guitarist to crowd surf. Before playing “Ode To Viceroy”, Mac claimed “this next song’s called “Pippi piiiipi peeepee””. Before “Robson Girl”, he mentioned “we haven’t played this in a while it could be really fucked up but who really gives a shit anyway?”. Other bands might be more serious and have a more ambitious artistic intent, but it’s safe to say that you’ll have more fun watching the Maccy.