Former Vancouverite and Discorder cover boy Mac DeMarco fueled the high expectations of his teen cult by blowing the doors off his sold out show at the Vogue on Friday, April 24. Mac’s flamboyant, charismatic stage presence and “no shits given” mentality shone while he sloppily chugged Coronas, occasionally spilling some on his equipment. But it was after the show when he met a group of fans in a back alley where the whole show coalesced. They carried him to a dumpster where he bummed cigs from teenagers, signed records, took pictures and conversed with his young admirers. After his prodigious amount of success over the past year, he proved Friday night that he hasn’t lost his one-of-a-kind style or sound. While he may be selling, like one concertgoer said, “Mac didn’t sellout like the rest of them. He’s still him.”
Fans from every corner of Vancouver braved the rain and hail as they lined up for the king of jangle-pop. Known for his wild stage antics and amusing lyrics, he didn’t disappoint, delivering an energy-packed show. A cluster of close friends at the side of the stage emitted a garage party-esque feel while he played upbeat renditions of his subtly sad songs to the packed crowd.
Danish artist DINNER (aka Anders Rhedin) warmed the stage with a compelling, theatrical performance charged with murky synths and aerobic-style dance moves. The “pop star from a parallel universe,” delivered an entertaining and rather captivating set, humorously encouraging the crowd to hold hands with one another and “feel each others’ energy.” The crowd ate up his unique mélange of idiosyncratic vocals over a punching new wave backing track leaving them begging for seconds.
By the time DINNER’s set concluded, the theatre was packed; a sea of flannel, thrifted graphic tees and grubby ball caps compressed to the front. The exhilaration for their gap-toothed god burgeoned as Mac DeMarco strolled onto the stage. Sporting camo overalls and a flat brimmed hat, he briefly introduced the band and opened the show with a jaunty rendition of the title track of his last album Salad Days.
Throughout the night, energized fans religiously bellowed along to punchier, more upbeat versions of his studio recordings. Spectators bounced their heads to every beat and a brave few even crowd surfed, their shoes pulled off by fellow concertgoers and eventually getting thrown over the barricade.
The hazy strums of “My Kind of Woman” united everyone as they swayed to the familiar smooth ebbing of the guitar. There were many unique moments of the night, like when fans threw their cigarettes onstage during the cult hit “Ode to Viceroy.” Lit cigarette buts and beer flew everywhere, and judging by Mac’s grin – that was exactly what he wanted.
He concluded the hour-and-a-half-long set with synth-heavy hit “Chamber of Reflection” followed by his whimsical ballad “Still Together.” Mac then prepared for his finale, tying his signature red Vans extra tight, and flashing a grin as he prepared to take a swim. Mac dove into the sea of teens, making rounds of the theatre’s lower level.
The encore, a 10-minute rendition of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” blasted pure insanity. Immediately, a mosh pit emerged with a mix of stoner kids and boozed-up adults expressing their excitement by slamming each other. Waves of people crashed together, most of them not doing so by choice. DeMarco got so into the song that his overalls came loose, and being Mac DeMarco, he kicked them off and bunny hopped around the stage in his boxers, thrashing his guitar to meet the excitement of the crowd.
Mac DeMarco is one of those artists that would have played with just as much charisma and heart if there were only five people in the theatre. But instead he played to a sold out Vogue Theatre, creating a sweaty, lovable and memorable night packed with laughs and great music. DeMarco did everything but disappoint in his old stomping ground, leaving revelers bruised and smiling.