Live Review: Mac DeMarco, Beacons Metro, Manchester (12/09/15)

Headlining the Albert Hall in Manchester on Saturday night as part of the Beacons Metro Festival, Mac DeMarco emerges with his band to rapturous applause – the magnificent venue is packed to capacity across the floor and on the upper tier balcony too. The response from much of the crowd – both in their excitable anticipation and screaming jubilation upon his appearance – conveys the fanaticism with which Mac’s admirers have followed his career so far.

It’s evident that his latest release, the mini-LP Another One, has been received as well as any other record by his fans – it remains eclipsed somewhat, at least critically, by his 2014 LP Salad Days. As the band opens with ‘The Way You’d Love Her’, however, the ubiquitous, cheering appreciation resounding around the Albert Hall marks out these latest tracks as valuable additions to Mac’s repertoire.

The infinite charm of his happy-go-lucky, slacker-rock persona conveys an intimacy with his fans

Indeed, the Canadian songwriter relies on the incumbent popularity of his new songs throughout the set, including ‘Another One’, ‘A Heart Like Hers’ and ‘I’ve Been Waiting for Her’ amongst others, all of which are well received. Equally, favourites from 2 and Salad Days happily fill the gaps between new releases, with particularly effervescent reactions to songs like ‘Freaking Out The Neighbourhood’, ‘The Stars Keep On Calling My Name’, and ‘Let Her Go’.

At 25, and already with a wealth of experience in entertaining in the live arena, it’s the man as much as the music that this crowd has come out to see. The infinite charm of his happy-go-lucky, slacker-rock persona conveys an intimacy with his fans, which perhaps explains the hysteria visible on Saturday night.

At the end of the set, after ‘Chamber of Reflection’ and half way through regular closing track ‘Still Together’, Mac stage dives over the security barriers and into the churning crowd – he is swallowed whole, and disappears from view for a good five minutes or so. People from all sides swell into the centre of the room, apparently desperate to even get a hand on Mac.

It’s typical but on the whole surprising – this is just a regular guy, albeit an eccentric one, who’s recorded songs in his apartment, yet this frenzied reaction appears as if hysterical thirteen year olds had just witnessed some prat from One Direction tumble within touching distance. Such is the devotion to the Pepperoni Playboy.

Having played nearly all of his most popular tracks, we realised a notoriously unusual encore was up next. True to form, the band rattled through impromptu covers of Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ and Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’, with Mac wailing inaudible lyrics and the people head banging to the breakdowns. Truly, it seems DeMarco is incapable of putting a foot wrong at present.

Mac Demarco was part of Beacons Metro which continues in Leeds. Starting October 2nd at Leeds’ newest venue Headrow House and having a 12 week music programme across Headrow House, Belgrave Music Hall, Canal Mills and Wharf Chambers. Full details –

James Noble

James is currently listening to ‘Joke’ by Chastity Belt

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