Mac DeMarco dazzles sold-out Great American Music Hall

Mac DeMarcoPhotos by Pedro Paredes // Written by Kevin Quandt and Pedro Paredes //

Mac DeMarco with Calvin Love, Juan Wauters and Holy Shit! //
Great American Music Hall – San Francisco
July 8th, 2014 //

Mac DeMarco can do little wrong at this current time as he skyrockets the indie charts, likely to make the jump to the next level any week here. Returning to the City, both of his gigs at the Great American Music Hall sold out within days. Over the course of Tuesday’s show, his third studio album Salad Days was well-represented as he wove between albums and various cover songs. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves with so many up-and-coming acts being featured on this night. So, light up a smoke, rock your favorite 5-panel hat and let us tell you about it.

Uruguayan singer Juan Wauters was the first act to hit the stage. Equipped only with his trusty acoustic guitar and his charismatic ways, he quickly engaged with an audience that seemed a bit shy at the beginning. However, the growing masses ended up cheering enthusiastically after each song. Covering tracks from his impressive solo debut N.A.P. North-American Poetry, he was soon joined on stage by a small band that helped his folk-oriented ballads get a very unique sound, a bit more dirty and gravitating toward garage folk.

By the time Calvin Love had wrapped up a stellar set, the youthful crowd was chomping at the bit to get down and weird to the “jizz jazz” — how the 24-year-old DeMarco (guitar, lead vocals) likes to describe his music — stylings that included Peter Sagar (guitar), Pierce McGarry (bass) and Joe McMurray (drums). The band was tuned and ready to go before its set time, so the quartet said “fuck it” and launched into its most recent title track, “Salad Days”.

Mac DeMarco

DeMarco’s fans screamed in sheer delight as he transformed himself into some sort of pop-slacker, earning hoots and howls from a bevy of females in the crowd. His rise to King Weirdo status has been swift, and it’s been for good reason. His likeability, coupled with his unique playing style, is pretty damned infectious, after all. “Blue Boy” and other more recent cuts were featured early on before drawing into his back catalog, pleasing the longtime fans with “I’m a Man” and “Rock and Roll Night Club”.

As the evening carried on and the crowd got more rowdy, DeMarco lit up a crowd-pleaser in the form of “Ode to Viceroy”, a tender tribute to his favorite brand of Canadian cigarettes. As is tradition with DeMarco’s shows, the crowd tossed smokes onstage and even lit ’em up, likely much to the chagrin of the Great American Music Hall. Yet, it’s unpredictable moments like these that have made the British Columbia native’s shows so sought after these days.

Mac DeMarco

The dual-cover encore started with a nod to the Bay Area in the form of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” before bringing up the opening bands and friends, including Mikal Cronin, for a singalong to Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend”. DeMarco asked the crowd to “take a knee for Neil”, and all obliged as the majority belted out the song’s lyrics with a deep passion for the moment — because certainly, it was a good one.

As we watch DeMarco climb from underground slacker to bonafide indie celebrity, one can only wonder when he’ll peak, but if I know one thing, it won’t be soon that more are joining the “cult of weird” he reigns over.

Comments

  1. Oh man how I wish I could have made this one…nice report!!!

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