Live Review: Mac DeMarco @ The 02 Academy

Live Review: Mac DeMarco @ The 02 Academy

The Canadian singer released his third full-length album, This Old Dog, earlier this year and it was warmly received by both fans and critics. To support the album, Mac DeMarco has already played a string of shows on his European tour and will go on to perform in Japan, Australia and South America next year. After mind-bending antics at his two biggest London headline shows at Brixton earlier this year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. 

I had heard a lot about Mac DeMarco gigs, so to say I was excited was an understatement. With a couple of Stella’s on the go, (though this isn’t necessarily his drink of choice as he told us outside after the gig) it seemed perfectly likely that this was going to be an interesting experience, and after the second impromptu attempt at a rendition of Seal’s ‘Kiss From A Rose’, which the crowd loved, may I add, it was safe to say the gig was going somewhere strange.

Classics like ‘Salad Days’, ‘The Stars Keep On Calling My Name’ and ‘Freaking out the Neighbourhood’ had everyone boogieing to their heart’s content, whilst tracks from the new, more acoustic album, This Old Dog, such as ‘Moonlight on the River’ and the eponymous single saw more of a head-bobbing, pour-your-heart-out singalong. This perfect balance between old and new allowed Mac to showcase his ability to both produce such a range of music as well as captivate a crowd, no matter what the vibe.

Performing the final track from his album 2, ‘Still Together,’ he had the room full of adolescent and 20-something guys trying to match his high-pitched vocals before he launched the crowd into a weird and wonderful hour of essentially doing and playing whatever the hell the band wanted to. This included Mac and drummer Joe McMurray switching places, so Joe could a) sing Red Hot Chilli Peppers ‘Under The Bridge’ (along with various other ‘indie’ classics) and b) crowd surf. The atmosphere was electric as the crowd went slightly mental to songs like The Darkness’ ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’ and Blink 182’s ‘What’s My Age Again’. I must have said and heard the words ‘what the Mac is going on’ way too many times for one gig.

Mac DeMarco has the kind of awe-inspiring stage presence you’ve always wanted your favourite musician to have, giving an incredibly energetic live performance, and heads up — if you want to meet Mac, wait by the stage door after the show and he’s bound to come out for a chat. 

By Emily Gates

Photography: Coley Brown