It’s hard to comment on the infatuation that people have with Mac DeMarco. I don’t see it. His music is great, that’s not hard to admit. But on Thursday night at Warsaw, where he took his final New York stage of his four night run, DeMarco fans quite literally lost their minds at the very first sight of him. The venue, which remained fairly empty in the first ten minutes, was completely packed by the following ten. Fans rushed the stage in excitement. DeMarco’s face is seen briefly through a spotlight and the whole crowd erupts with joy. It’s weird to see everyone so excited about one dude, but nonetheless, he is why we’re all here.
How does one express his vibe? The chill-chillness of the Mac DeMarco nature? Well for starters, his name isn’t Mac, Its Vernor Winfield McBriare Smith IV. But for some reason everyone always called him Mac. Are you serious? What is this, The Big Lebowski? Anyway, Mac’s surprisingly alluring chillness runs parallel to the music he makes— which is largely centered around the soon-to-be cliche formula of songwriting entitled, “I’m-still-a-jokester-but-I-want-to-be-taken-seriously” — he’s expressive physically and emotionally, but he’s a jester to his own music— constantly sticking out his tongue during the silent moments of his love songs, snickering at his own lines as if he’s thinking “wow, I can’t believe I actually wrote that”. And so, as I demand more space from the people behind me trying to nudge me closer to the stage, DeMarco runs through a handful of idiosyncratic melodies that have the crowd swaying in unison like a bunch of willow trees in a thunderstorm.
He’s what in film styles we’d call “Camp”. Which represents his deliberate self-acknowledgement of his own theatricality. He is aware that his songs take their natural form as drifty love ballads but he chooses to act in ways that contradicts them— essentially, singing lyrics like “please don’t take my love away, let my baby stay” but then finishing up the song and whispering “fuck that shit” into the microphone followed by a maniacal, almost psychotic sounding chuckle. His gapped tooth smile, the one that every writer just NEEDS to refer to, tells me everything I need to know about him. He’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get type of guy— he aint changing for anybody. And come to think of it, this makes for a perfectly captivating artist to a bunch of twenty-somethings. He’s a guy you should take seriously, even when he’s kidding. He’s overly genuine, honest and kind, but could easily seem vicious to the uninitiated. He knows how to write a heartfelt tune about love’s warm embrace just as well as he knows how to crack a beer open with his eye socket. That kind of earnestness sets the tone for the entire show— making a snail paced song like “Ode To Viceroy” play like a chant all too infectious to not sing along to.
And just like we hoped, the show ended like it always does with DeMarco leaping into the crowd as they cheered and carried him throughout the venue. Ending his four shows in New York, you could tell DeMarco had mixed feelings about closing the curtain on the night, but he was all too quick to reassure us that he’d be back before we knew it.
Check out the photos of Mac Demarco and opener, Delicate Steve, above.