Mac DeMarco is beloved by many, many young fans. I learned this firsthand last week when Mac dropped by DC for two sold-out nights at 9:30 Club — where screaming admirers couldn’t get enough of his cheerful everyman composure and laidback songs.
The young Canadian, also known as McBriare Samuel Lanyon “Mac” DeMarco, released his third full-length studio album, This Old Dog, via Captured Tracks in May, inspiring the current bout of incessant touring and further stoking DeMarco-Mania. Last Wednesday’s show was the first time I ever experienced being in the photo pit with security, clearly concerned about the well being of both Mac and his audience. (The 9:30 Club’s well-trained guards handed out bottles of water to eager young patrons in the minutes before the show began.)
Of course, the capacity crowd went wild at 9:30 from the first when Mac started his show with “Salad Days,” the title track to his 2014 second studio album. The kids sang along to every word, and they clamored for every note of jangle pop they could wring from the stage.
Throughout the show, Mac was the perfect picture of chill. He introduced his band early, and you got the feeling that these comrades were along for the ride to hang out with each other as much as they were to perform in a band. Mac soon cracked upon a beer and even sang a song while enjoying it. (I think that song was “No Other Heart,” a love song from a “mini-LP” released in 2015 — the man is prolific!)
Soon, Mac and the band are into the new album, and they perform “This Old Dog” and “My Old Man.” As you can tell from his song titles, Mac is concerned with being in love and growing older — although that surely remains something of a distant prospect in Mac’s music as he lyrically ponders what the future may hold. It’s an idea that recurred throughout his music, even in popular early tunes like “Cooking Up Something Good,” taken from first full-length album 2 in 2012, a song that suggests ennui in the status quo as the narrator waits for something more to occur.
Mac sang these songs with an easygoing demeanor, more likely to shrug his shoulders at all of the cares in the world than to become too concerned about them. His band shares his peaceful attitude, and Jon Lent (bass), Joe McMurray (drums), Alec Meen (keys), and Andy White (guitar) really performed well as an ensemble.
To my surprise, toward the end of the show, Mac covered Vanessa Carlton with “A Thousand Miles,” where he impressed with his falsetto.
All in all, Mac DeMarco has plenty of reason to be happy with a large batch of easily digestible songs and a very big audience ready to eat them up. He seemed like the most unpretentious soul you could ever hope to meet and also like the kind of guy you’d invite out for a beer, partly because he’s pleasant company and partly because he doesn’t seem to have an artificial bone in his body.
This week, Mac skipped off to Europe, and he performs tonight in England. But he will circle back to the United States throughout the summer, performing at various festivals like the Governors Ball and Lollapalooza before taking up another US touring leg in September.
Here are some more pictures of Mac DeMarco and his band performing at 9:30 Club on May 24, 2017.