LIVE REVIEW + PHOTOS: Mac DeMarco

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Mac de Marco at The Forum Wednesday 7th February
Media passes provided by Publicists
Words by Jacob Agius and edited by Elsie Bath

Photos by Bridget Bourke

It’s been two long years since Mac DeMarco played a gig in Melbourne, so needless to say the sold out show at The Forum was geared up to be a very special event.

The anticipation for the night began early in the day when the set times changed to accomodate a longer set for DeMarco. By the time I made it to The Forum there was a strange sense of calmness going through the crowd. But the second the lights went down a huge roar rang through the venue.

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DeMarco and his band burst into an energetic rendition of ‘On The Level’. As one of my favourite songs on the new record This Old Dog, and being a fairly slow mover it was amazing to see the band perform the track in full force. They followed it up straight away with ‘Salad Days’, before playing a few more classics that had the crowd boogying as hard as they could.

DeMarco has been touring around the country for Laneway Festival, and it’s the first time Australia has seen him with his new line up. DeMarco’s band should be commended for being one of the tightest live acts going around at the moment; a testament to this being when the band took things down a notch with ‘Moonlight On The River’. A slow and quiet tune that ended with an extended instrumental jam.

The incredible light show throughout the venue made it look like rain was falling into the crowd at one stage. Accompanied by some of the most beautiful and shimmering guitar playing I’ve ever heard, a driving beat, a piano section that flowed and swelled and some intense electronic effects. All of this added a louder texture to the show that managed to fill the room. Seeing this performed live put me in a trance. While being able to look up and see the ‘stars’ on the ceiling of The Forum, it made everything feel very surreal in the best way possible.

‘While being able to look up and see the “stars” on the ceiling of The Forum, it made everything feel very surreal in the best way possible’

DeMarco has always been known for putting on a stellar live show, something he seem to only keep on improving with continued practice. Throughout the set his guitar playing was faultless – in true DeMarco fashion – making everything he did look exceptionally easy. His voice was in top form; going from his crazy high pitched screams in the middle of a song to hitting a note perfectly, without missing a beat.

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Ever the showman, DeMarco was incredibly charismatic. He used The Forum to its full potential, insisting all the lights be turned off for a few songs and for everyone to ‘pull those cellphone flashlights out’. Watching someone perform in that kind of setting and interacting with a crowd in the way DeMarco does is something that’s very unique.

DeMarco, is the king of closers, playing his standard ‘Still Together’ to begin the end of the set. He dedicated the track to his long time partner Keira and all of us at the show. The crowd knew it was their last time to throw down.

‘The crowd knew it was their last time to throw down’

As soon as the song began everyone started screaming the words. But the band ordered a slower pace. DeMarco and his drummer switched positions and we were all taken by surprise. The band burst into a huge cover of the ‘Under The Bridge’ by The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Everyone went off. DeMarco made his way back to the front of the stage and demanded the crowd ‘open up that pit’.

Microphones dropped in and out, random frequencies were singing, the band doubled the pace again and again. Just when you thought you were at a Melbourne DIY Punk show, the band dived straight back into ‘Still Together’, with DeMarco orchestrating all the crescendos, looking like a crazed conductor.

‘Just when you thought you were at a Melbourne DIY Punk show, the band dived straight back into “Still Together”‘

The song ended and the crowd thought that was it. We started to move out but there was movement on stage; DeMarco and his bassist, the wonderful Jon Lent, came back out. DeMarco stated he had one more to play, asking for everyone to sit down. He instructed all the stage lights be turned off and the house lights left on, it was a beautiful scene. DeMarco sat down with Lent as they played a rendition of ‘My Old Man’, a song which he told us was a hard one to write and share with the world.

The stripped back performance was the perfect way to end the set. It was like we were all sitting around a campfire, the whole crowd singing along. We left feeling full of love. Needless to say I think everyone at The Forum that night is hoping DeMarco comes back very, very soon.