Mac DeMarco, Dinner at O2 ABC, 7/9/15

Imagine the O2 ABC packed with devoted fans waiting to see Mac DeMarco; a musical cult figure whose influence is evidently so far reaching that many members of the crowd appear to be imitating his trademark style of dress.

If you then imagine dramatic red lighting, reverb effects, and what might happen if Soft Cell were to enter next year’s Eurovision, you might understand why Dinner seem a bit of an unusual pick for tonight’s support act.

 

However this unusual pairing proves its worth, and the audience are more than obliging when he requests that they “move their bodies with him”,

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Over the years we have come to expect the unexpected from Mac DeMarco, a trait which makes him an exciting live performer, and it’s safe to say that from the off the set features a few surprising elements.

For instance when Demarco heads offstage to deal with a broken guitar string, a casualty of opening number The Way You’d Love Her’, his band spontaneously break out into a rendition of Red Hot Chilli Peppers anthem ‘Under the Bridge’, much to everyone’s amusement and enjoyment.

Then there comes a moment when DeMarco sends Jon Lent into the audience, demanding that they “be gentle” as his keyboard player is passed around at head height.

The band are most definitely worth a mention; through instrumental sections, which are both powerful and intricate, exhibit an incredible level of skill and are clearly an important part of the singer’s musical process rather than simply a backing band.

The set is a fan-pleasing mix of tracks from across each of his albums, although he does play the bulk of his latest release Another One.

Despite the fact that the nature of this record is fundamentally different to his older music, and demonstrates a step into a more relaxed, quieter territory, he ingeniously reimagines these tracks for a live setting by placing driving drum rhythms and electric riffs behind the familiar melodies and lyrics.

Demarco is so in control of the crowd that even an obviously jokey “that was the last song” causes a bit of an uproar.

Thankfully he plays on, finishing with a soaring version of ‘Still Together’ before nipping off for the encore, which is a masterclass in explosive sound laden with heavy rock, and even includes an unsuccessful stage dive on DeMarco’s part, which he remarkably manages to pull off – think the opening scenes of School of Rock but infinitely cooler.

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Words: Ellen Renton
Photos: Elina Lin

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