Monday night saw the Canadian slack-rocker return to England’s south coast as Mac Demarco opened the UK tour for third album ‘Salad Days’ to a somewhat raunchy audience. The categorically mature and established nature of The Old Market was thrown out of the window, as the youthful nature of the sold out crowd created an atmosphere more suited to a Brighton club night.
The 11-track release on label, Captured Tracks has landed DeMarco four hot dates around the UK as well as a huge summer tour, including performances at Wales’ Green Man Festival and Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle.
DeMarco’s popularity has increased rapidly since 2012 release, Rock n Roll Nightclub, which saw him burst onto the scene. Following albums, 2 and Salad Days have cemented the Canadian’s mark on the British indie-rock scene.
15 minutes later than expected, DeMarco made his way on stage, probably fairly taken-aback by the extremely enthusiastic nature of the intoxicated pit facing him. Title track, Salad Days was eagerly welcomed, despite a technical hitch forcing most of the song to be played without any bass guitar. Oddly however, this sounded okay; maybe the work of a cunning soundman or just proof that it’s not particularly needed?
Older tracks, such as The Stars On Keep Calling My Name were performed alongside the new material, which went down very well. The famous jizz-jazz’ style of DeMarco’s guitar playing jangled through, sitting above the simplistic style of an anonymous drummer, who seemed happy to keep his playing to a minimum, rather than influencing the characteristics of each track.
The extended vocal ranges of the bassist and lead guitarist harmonised with DeMarco. This impressive technique had the ability to really stand out, however, it seemed to have an underrated presence, and was somewhat underwhelming.
Quieter tracks, such as new single, Chamber Of Reflection frustratingly lacked authority, an aspect that should have shone through in live performance. Though I suppose we can only really put this down the venue. (Sorry TOM)!
The (in)famous comical performance style seems to have become habitual to the band. These, along with the crowd’s own input added a large amount of humour to the show. Security also did their bit to join in on the fun, as a bouncer confronted a fan who had made their way onto the stage during I’m A Man, pushing him back off. Unexpectedly, DeMarco then took matters into his own hands, pushing the bouncer himself into the crowd. This was very well received by the audience, which erupted into a sea of hysterics.
Mac’s natural ability on and off stage as well as a banter-full ‘fuck-you-establishment’ style made for a memorable night and probably a show that watchers will never forget. I personally won’t forget the moment when DeMarco ordered the crowd to kneel for a rendition of Neil Young’s ‘Unknown Legend’, during a short but very, very sweet encore. Regardless of a few minor technical issues, the musical ability and amusing antics of the four-piece made for a highly entertaining night, which was very much worth a tenner.