BEING THERE: Mac DeMarco @ Underground Arts


The unfinished basement of a venue that is Underground Arts is the perfect venue to see psych-pop prankster Mac DeMarco, an unfinished basement of a man. Friday night, I found myself packed into a sold-out UA crowd of towering 6ft.-something fan boys and drunken kissy-faced couples. Both seem to be his core demographic. Not that I was really surprised given that DeMarco’s songs are almost entirely about life as a grizzly dude, or about loving his sweetie. Sometimes they are about both at the same time. Looking unkempt as ever with a mane of scraggly, greasy hair and a week’s worth of facial hair, DeMarco was well-received upon entering. He played a fourteen-song set that primarily featured his new album Salad Days, as well as past releases 2 and Rock and Roll Night Club. The music was mind-blowingly beautiful and DeMarco’s voice was on-point, despite his rep as a chain-smoker of Viceroy Cigarettes ™. But the music was only half of the fun. There was also a lot of slapstick, some of it was even intentional.

Kindly telling the security guards to fuck off, DeMarco parted the crowd room for stage divers. Several concertgoers made it onto the stage during “Ode to Viceroy,” handing DeMarco cigarettes and lighting up themselves. When a bra was flung onto his head, DeMarco shouted out “Oopsie Daisy!” and without missing a beat proceeded to sing “Chamber of Reflection” as if it had been a planned costume change. Now, that’s showmanship, people. He closed the show with a drawn-out, heartfelt performance of “Still Together,” which, if you squint your ears sounds sorta like an emphysemic Roy Orbison singing “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” With the help of the audience members that he crowd-surfed over, DeMarco hoisted himself onto a low-hanging pipe on venue’s ceiling, and then, with more gymnastic aplomb than you would expect from a guy who looks like he lives underwater, proceeded to dangle upside down from said low-hanging pipe, much to the crowd’s delight. DeMarco encored with Neil Young’s “Unknown Legend” complete with Viceroy hanging out of his mouth. Before he started he demanded that all 700 or so in attendance kneel down, because, dig this dude, kneel sounds just like Neil. I’m not even kidding. And Neil we did. The three party poopers who refused were pelted with beer cans by the other 697. It was like they were getting stoned, which, when you stop to think about it, sounds just like getting stoned. Coincidence? — MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ

Salad Days
The Stars Keep On Calling My Name
Blue Boy
Treat Her Better
Cooking Up Something Good
Passing Out Pieces
Let Her Go
Ode to Viceroy
Let My Baby Stay
I’m a Man
Freaking Out the Neighborhood
Chamber of Reflection
Still Together

Unknown Legend (Neil Young cover)