Gig Review: Mac Demarco – o2 Academy Newcastle

Canadian troubadour revels in a transatlantic love affair with rapturous North East crowd.

For an individual who released his debut album in 2012, Mac Demarco has steadily positioned himself as one of the most beloved and talked about names in indie, alternative rock. Partly down to the home self-recordings that strikes a chord with millions. The latest release, 2017’s This Old Dog, was the first voyage into the world of digital recording, and it’s the sharpest refinement yet of Demarco’s nonchalant sense of craft.

The Canadian has slowly built up an adoring legion of fans and, playing to 2000 fans that possess a special bond between them as a thunderous crescendo erupts as he strolls into the public eye for the first time. This nonchalant gap-toothed tropical surf prince of the millennial idler scene spends the first hour weaving languorous 80s synth-pop, lounge jazz, and warm tropical surf into one delightful amalgamation.

The transatlantic love affair increases in intensity as the delighted congregation sings along to every word of a euphoric version of ‘On The Level‘. ‘Salad Days’ and ‘No Other Heart’ complete an opening trio that delights and allows for a sea of soft sway.

Guitarist Andrew Charles White, who takes to the stage barefooted, bends sunshine surf around the likes of ‘This Old Dog’ and ‘Cooking Up Something Good’, and the crowd embrace Demarco’s dilapidated swagger, clambering shoulders to sing along to ‘One More Love Song’ and going wild to ‘Freaking Out the Neighborhood’.

Demarco’s appeal is rooted in his impulsive antics, and the show takes off when he suddenly gets Pentecostal and rips his t-shirt off and swaggers about the stage with a bottle of cheap wine. The final song, ‘Still Together’, lasts around half an hour and involves a topless, beer-soaked Mac doing werewolf screams, guitarist Andrew Charles White frenetic picking the highest note on his ice white Stratocaster and miming Street Fighter battles with his keyboardist.

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That’s one of the reasons why tonight is such a triumph and a sellout. This is an artist and a band riding on the crest of a wave, while dialling in their craft and stage presence on the hard wheel of modern touring schedules. Throw in an added excitement at being in the UK, a country that adores DeMarco maybe as much as any other, and it feeds into what is undoubtedly a special night for those lucky enough to snatch a ticket.

Words: Matthew Thomas

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