Live Review

Mac DeMarco, Scala, London

It’s probably too early to declare DeMarco one of a kind, but there’s more to him than the joking around.

They don’t come like Mac DeMarco all that much these days. He’s a goofy goon, a backwards cap, gap-toothed loon. But he damn well knows it. He also has this odd command over a crowd. They’ll lap up his every word, be it a crude joke or an Elvis style ‘uh, thankyou’. The appeal’s impossible not to latch onto, but it’s difficult to work out why at first.

Maybe it has someone to do with the songs. He was probably a total nobody back in school. But here, he’s the cool kid; a chancing charmer that everyone else wants to be. He’s the popular guy who also ends up being able to get the A grades. That’s where the songs come in.

At Scala, he’ll run through standouts from his ‘2’ album just as astutely as a cover medley containing ludicrous, falsettoed Led Zep. Kids hanging on every word or jolt of his guitar, there’s chaos to match his clever tricks. Confidence, too. The band have just finished a third album. Two days ago, in fact. There’s a definite itch to put those new songs into gear, but first a lap of honour for 2012’s breakthrough ‘2’.

As it happens, it’s the cuts on previous release ‘Rock and Roll Night Club’ that stand out. On record, they’re dosed in smoke and mirrors, an aesthetic that was shunned for something sharper and more riff-centric. Live though, these songs sound like they’re in competition with each other. The title-track is dedicated to the late Lou Reed.

That’s just about the only serious moment across the entire set. The rest is just as earnest, only it’s delivered with tongues in cheek or - on one occasion - tongues connecting for a quick inter-band smooch. Couple the makeout sessions with fake song titles like ‘The Pee Pee Pee Pee Song’ and on paper, this should be a non-spectacle of the most unfunny proportions. It’s the exact opposite. It’s probably too early to declare DeMarco one of a kind, but there’s more to him than the joking around.

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