Portland – The Crystal Ballroom saw one of its hippest crowds Wednesday night, and they were there to dance to the sweet, sweet weirdness of Mac DeMarco. The crowd had an energy quite like DeMarco’s—serious in their dedication to truly good music, absolutely no qualms with breaking rules, and an almost contagious effervescent attitude. Demarco’s set, which consisted of hits like “Cooking Up Something Good” and “Ode To Viceroy,” lasted for an impressive 15 songs, all of which the crowd ate up like DeMarco was feeding them the last meal they’d ever eat.
The Canadian native began his career as a musician with 2008’s Heat Wave, a collection of demos that eventually led to his first musical endeavor, Makeout Videotape. By 2012, DeMarco released his first solo EP, Rock And Roll Nightclub. 2 came only a few months later, and solidified his status as a one of the most eccentric and talented multi-instrumentalists on the indie rock scene. What is special about DeMarco, however, is that although his music is expertly crafted and played, we don’t really know what’s a joke and what isn’t. DeMarco’s infamous promotional videos are just one example of his peculiarity, and fans and critics alike can’t get enough of it.
The majestic Crystal Ballroom started to shake when it was clear that DeMarco would arrive in mere moments. While DeMarco’s support, Dinner, who was thankfully just as eccentric but with an unexpected 80’s electronic flair and a monotone to match, pleased the audience to the point that they pass him happily among them as he crowd surfs, they still knew what was waiting for them after his set finished. “Mac DeMarco” chants began, and out stepped the man himself, drinking a Tecate and sporting his signature gap-toothed smile.
“The Stars Keep Calling My Name” was met with screams and immediate dancing. The feel good tune is DeMarco’s signature, with just the right amount of reality mixed in. DeMarco’s supporting bassist and guitarist moved seamlessly about the stage, creating their own vibe-y dance floor as DeMarco’s vocals entranced the audience. Later, DeMarco played “Annie” and as he sang, “I’m going down,” it’s impossible not to follow him wherever it is that he’s going.
“Freaking Out The Neighborhood” is a reflection of DeMarco’s persona. He has no problem with being grotesque and even uninviting, and he succeeded in making people enjoy it nonetheless. In between songs, his band told jokes and tried to get their drummer a Tinder date. By the end of his set, he crowd surfed both sides of the crowd, up and down—twice. When he stepped back on stage he yelled, “All you kids were trying to touch my penis!” But there is a softer side to DeMarco, too; he brings his friends who were just engaged on stage to dance to “Still Together” as he all but serenaded them with an impressive falsetto.
The set was borderline perfection, not just because of DeMarco’s skills as a musician and performer, but also because the crowd adored him. This is perhaps the most focal part of DeMarco’s persona–his fans are obsessed with him. It’s an impossibility to “like” Mac DeMarco, you either love him or you don’t. It would be difficult to leave his show without wanting to be friends with him, simply because of the possibility that you could get into some really weird shit, all while listening to some incredible music.
Mac DeMarco just announced that he’d be releasing a new mini-LP this summer. He’s also currently on an extensive world tour; find upcoming dates here.
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