The last couple of weeks were, to say the least, some of the best weeks in NOLA music in quite a while. If you didn’t see any of the amazing shows that came through town, you really did miss some amazing treats. Where Y'at’s 20th Anniversary Party, Arcade Fire with Wolf Parade, Dada, Two Door Cinema Club, Zola Jesus, King Gizzard, The Skatatalites, and a historic Daniel Johnston and the Preservation All-Stars show at the Joy were some of the many highlighted shows, as well as Mac DeMarco. Mac, aka McBriare Samuel Lanyon "Mac" DeMarco (born Vernor Winfield McBriare Smith IV), is a Canadian singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer who played the Orpheum Theater on his This Old Dog Tour, which is the namesake of his latest album that was released back in May of this year.
To be honest, I left the show scratching my head, though the near sold-out crowd seemed to love every moment of it. Maybe it’s the fact that he was born when I was a junior in high school or that his “off-kilter pop” just didn’t resonate with me. He is a genius when it comes to his craft, has a blast on stage, and has a very infectious stage presence, but those things still didn’t add up for me. The set was composed mostly of his latest effort and his debut album 2. The "blue wave" and "slacker rock” terms that have been thrown around to describe his music made sense on a grander scheme, but I only figured that out well after the show had ended.
So, I was discussing the show with a friend of mine, and I compared him to a cross between some other singer-songwriter and an up-and-coming pop star. Needless to say, she didn’t think my comparison was accurate and filled me in on the missing piece. Mac, for lack of a better term, is quirky. His eccentric and odd behaviors are all part of his persona, and the part I didn’t get was that his music, for all intents and purposes, is there to make light of “dad rock,” which I now get. One look at the velvet sash adorned with a skeleton riding a motorcycle, circa Ghost Rider, off the keyboardist's keyboard, should have given it away. Also, I figured out why ACDC’s “Back in Black” was played right after the title track on his latest album, or at least put in into context. I think the only thing that would have hammered that point home more would have been him covering “Shook Me (All Night Long)” to conclude the metaphor I was so blatantly missing. Mac ended the set with the last track off 2, “Still Together,” and included two more “Dad” classics, Van Halen’s “Running with the Devil” and Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”
Even if I, in some ways, still don't get it, the Mac DeMarco show is a great excuse to roll with the punches and have a great time. You can see more of my shots here.