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LIVE REVIEW: Mac DeMarco at the Vicar Street, Dublin

Photo by Miguel Ruiz

It wouldn’t be fair to say every song is a joke for Mac DeMarco, that he’s crazy or high on a stage, but his shows usually come with a series of events that make every gig a new adventure of the unexpected. So while people last night celebrated indie pop gems like ‘Salad Days’, ‘The Stars Keep On Calling My Name’, ‘Cooking Up Something Good’ and ‘Let Her Go’, they also cheered when the singer asked the band the lyrics for ‘Moonlight on the River’ or when he did one of his signature sudden screams that sound like a knacker in Dublin at 2 a.m.

It all started with the fragrant and dense synth for On The Level to introduce his latest album and it went on with the keyboard player, Alec Meen laughing his ass off when DeMarco broke one of his guitar strings during For The First Time. The night at Vicar Street was pleasant, with barefoot Andrew Charles White playing some clean sounds with his guitar making you want to pick up a Fender or request some sweet love from his fingers. Meanwhile, the gapped teeth lead vocalist kept passing on his jangle tunes to an audience that kept worshipping their millennial idol throwing 80s vintage caps and cigars to the stage.

Photo by Miguel Nuiz

By the sixth song, the people were totally into the Canadian, but in case of emergency, the 27 years old songwriter pulled out a Guinness t-shirt and admitted he had a couple of pints in Dublin before the show, so the fans were completely ramming. To calm things down a little bit, they played ‘suave’ jazzy versions of My Old Man and Dreams From Yesterday, and people felt so comfy they lit up a cigarette during the performance of Ode to Viceroy, “don’t let me see you crying ’cause oh, honey, I’ll smoke you ’till I’m dying”.

Then the show promised something epic with the band covering Michael Jackson with Man in the Mirror as a gorgeous intro for Freaking Out the Neighborhood, but DeMarco was especially prudent in Dublin. That doesn’t mean he didn’t pull a clean and engaging performance with fan favorites like the royal highness of My Kind of Woman and Still Together (where guitars emulated the sound of U2’s The Edge for the outro) raising phones, lighters and nice singalongs from the pit, but the so expected bizarre number never came at the end of the show. No naked Canadians or lucky fans on the stage. No improvised covers or risky dances, just a pleasant, enjoyable and scripted music performance that led to an encore where DeMarco asked everybody to sit on the floor while he sang Watching Him Fade Away, thinking of his father, “this is about my pops”. After all, we all went to Vicar Street for the music, right?

Photo by Miguel Nuiz

Setlist

1. On The Level
2. Salad Days
3. For the First Time
4. The Stars Keep On Calling My Name
5. This Old Dog
6. Cooking Up Something Good
7. My Old Man
8. Ode to Viceroy
9. Dreams From Yesterday
10. Man In The Mirror (Michael Jackson cover)
11. Freaking Out the Neighborhood
12. No Other Heart
13. Let Her Go
14. Rock and Roll Night Club
15. My Kind of Woman
16. Moonlight on the River
17. Chamber of Reflection
18. Still Together
19. Watching Him Fade Away

Miguel Ruiz

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