Review: Mac DeMarco @ Manchester Academy

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By Cass Hyde
Photography: Georgina Hurdsfield

Since he first started out in 2012, Mac DeMarco has quickly gained a cult following from his slacker persona, wild stage banter and his own style of jangle pop. No one at his Manchester show just likes him and his music. They love it!

So, understandably, Mac’s biggest hits launched the crowd into a frenzy. ‘Salad Days’, a mid-tempo, nonchalant ode to getting older, became a 2,000-strong singalong. The fast-paced ‘Freaking Out In The Neighbourhood’ caused the crowd to erupt into one giant mosh pit. The now rarely played ‘Let It Go’, Mac’s answer to an upbeat single, led to raucous dancing and celebrations from the audience.

Yet, the show wasn’t without its more intimate moments. ‘This Old Dog’ and ‘Dreams of Yesterday’, added sarcastic jazz piano to slow acoustic ballads. For ‘Dreams of Yesterday’, the stage lights were turned off and Mac asked the audience to pick their lighters/phone lights in the air. All of this took these quirky slow songs to a new high, making a large venue like the Academy seem intimate.

Yet, if there was anything wrong with his performance, it was its length. Performing a full two-hour set, Mac performed many tracks from his new album, This Old Dog, which contains many slow songs. None of the songs performed from the album are bad, per se, but when you have such a high energy atmosphere, it seems strange to add so many slower songs. Tracks performed earlier in the set, such as ‘On The Level’ and ‘For The First Time’, were enjoyable, for sure. But when the seventh and eighth slow songs came around, you could hear the chatter over the music.

Ending the night on ‘Still Together’, the closer for his second album, the album version is barely over three minutes, 30 seconds. Live-wise, Mac stretches this song out, filling it with nonsensical covers and semi-improvised onstage havoc.

This saw Mac strutting around the stage, performing Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ with all lyrics replaced with lyrics about cheese, ham and sandwiches. Mac’s support, Montero, came on stage to perform 50 Cent’s ‘In Da Club’, with Mac jamming on drums.

At one point, Mac put on a pair of tiny glasses someone threw on stage and launched into a cover of ‘Live Forever’ by Oasis, as Liam Gallagher. Head cocked up to the mic and hands behind his back, the crowd belted out all the words.

Yet, by the time this was all over and done with, 25 minutes had passed. It’s not necessarily a sign of over indulgence on Mac’s parts. Jam sessions tend to always be too long, but this could have easily been ten or 15 minutes.

This was far, far from a bad set. Yet, it could have easily been a tight 90 minutes. Overall, it was pretty good, but not great.

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Cass Hyde

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