Mac DeMarco Gets Weird and Invites Us to Get Weird, Too

To say that Mac DeMarco is eccentric is putting it lightly; but that’s honestly why I, and his ever-growing legion of fans, love him in the first place. After seeing him previously at the Hideout Music Festival a few years ago—and meeting him, too!—I was excited to see him at the Vic on Tuesday night, coming off the heels of his new album, This Old Dog.

This new album has been a sort of metamorphosis for Mac; while his old sounds amplified his boyish charm and hooligan attitude, his new album is super polished, finessed, and quite sexy thanks to the expert use of synths on most tracks. The metamorphosis transferred into his live performance; before, when I saw him smoking and crowd surfing mid-set, on Tuesday, he was reeled in, grinning, and dancing around the stage like a goof, but without truly crazy antics. This time, the music spoke for itself. He also didn’t don his typical baseball hat—dare I say that was a symbolic choice, too?

When he stepped onstage, hoards of teenage fans screamed like it was a Backstreet Boys concert in 1995. Initially, it was weird to me—earlier that day, several of my friends didn’t know who he was when I told them what concert I was going to. But here, it was like he was the biggest star in the world. Perhaps he truly is the biggest underground act out there, continuing to gain fans by word-of-mouth. I was happy to be in on the secret before he travels to larger arenas (please don’t’ do it, Mac!).

After “Salad Days” begun, teens were already crowd surfing—and it didn’t stop until the final song, which Mac curated without an encore. He wove through his greatest hits as fans threw baseball cap after baseball cap on the stage. The energy in the Vic was unlike anything I’d seen or could expect. And it was incredible.

Mac treated us to songs like “On The Level,” “Ode to Viceroy,” “Chamber of Reflection,” and “Freaking out the Neighborhood,” much to our delight. There honestly wasn’t one song I wish he hadn’t played, or conversely, had. The low point? A teen definitely puked on the second floor right as we were walking in. If I can say that’s the only low point of a show and it doesn’t even involve the artist, then Mac, your talent is endless.

Sarah Brooks
Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks is a native Chicagoan with a penchant for words, music, art and this magnificent city of Chicago. Raised on The Beatles and learning the violin at age 9, Sarah’s passion for music began early in life. Her musical obsessions include Wilco, Otis Redding, Neko Case and Real Estate, but they truly change daily. She can be found at a concert, trying a new restaurant, or running along the lakefront path.