Show: Mac DeMarco
Date: January 13, 2016
Venue: Kings Arms Tavern
Reviewed by: MANDY TE

Last year, Mac DeMarco released Another One; critics commented on the mellowness of the album and his introspective lyrics that reflect his life in New York with girlfriend, Kiera “Kiki” McNally.

There’s a somewhat unreasonable belief that mellow music doesn’t carry over well during live performances, especially from a performer who is notoriously known (to security guards at least) for goofy on-stage hijinks. But, the crowds that attend Mac DeMarco’s gigs, much like the one at the all ages performance at Kings Tavern, are anything but mellow. Although this combination seems contradictory, it is complementary – resulting in a live atmosphere that is confident, gregarious and light-hearted.

Openers Charlie Freak and Yukon Era’s performances were strong and offered the audience a sense of foreshadowing as to how the rest of the night was going to be. With this anticipation and the music seemingly seeping through my entire body – the vibrations felt as though they were shooting right towards my chest – the crowd congregated towards the stage, resulting in a very sweaty but ultimately enjoyable experience.

Playing songs from Another One and the beloved Salad Days, the crowd found themselves laughing at DeMarco, but also at one another. Ode to Viceroy saw one guy jump up on stage and sway, clearly influenced by more than just the music. Backing band members crowd-surfed and Mac spoke nonchalantly to the crowd, laughing for a few minutes before mimicking the Kiwi accent when keyboardist, Jon Lent got “a bit stuck.”

Despite the limited space and the overwhelming heat, Mac DeMarco’s opening leg of his New Zealand tour was musically cohesive – bringing the audience the songs they hear on vinyl and online to life – and joyfully entertaining. Ending with the song Together, and with Mac himself surfing the crowd, the night was surprisingly intimate and most certainly a memorable experience to be a part of.

Check out Mac DeMarco on Spotify.

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