After wondering the streets of Camden, I found myself slumped on the dusty pavement opposite London’s KOKO, slurping a luke-warm raspberry Kopperberg; it was the day of Mac Demarco. His two sold out London shows were guaranteed to be exceptional, and after hearing some people’s views on the Brixton set the previous day, it only set the bar higher.
Casual conversation with my friends swiftly ceased as I glanced across the road to see Mac himself having a (bet you can’t guess) cigarette and chilling near the stage door. My heart ruled my head as I ran across the road to meet one of my favourite current artists.
“Hi, I’m Angel” I smiled, shaking his hand over the metal barrier
“Hi, I’m Mac” he replied, his soft American voice just as soothing as imaginable
“Oh I bloody know” I was starstruck
What a way to start off one of the most anticipated gigs of my short sad life. After my heart beat slowed to a reasonable pace again, my friends and I entered the venue to commence the night. I was pretty disappointed with the support acts, as neither really got the crowd moving. It was a waiting game.
The lights dimmed, the crowd roared and Mac Demarco and his talented band members took the stage. They commenced their set with ‘The way you’d love her’ which instantaneously surged through the veins of every audience member and electrified the venue. I was so surprised as to how the crowd all responded to the entirety of Mac’s set; I was fully expecting a mellow, wavey atmosphere, but there were mosh pits were some of the craziest I have seen.
The brilliant thing about Mac Demarco’s music is that there is no bad song, so inevitably the whole set was laden with exceptional tracks that were adored by the crowd. ‘Salad days’, ‘no other heart’ and ‘the stars keep on calling my name’ followed the opening song. The atmosphere was incredible with everyone shouting out the lyrics in a vaguely melodic way, with massive grins on their faces. I also loved the use of the disco ball to set the mood for the whole evening.
Another aspect of the performance that separates it from any typical gig, was the sheer charisma and humour that Mac and the band brought to the stage. After a couple of songs, the whole band excluding Mac were encouraged to stage dive following Mac’s comment “two of these guys have had recent haircuts, can you guess who?”, gesturing to the two guys with long, shaggy locks.
‘Another One’, ‘Cooking up something good’ and ‘Ode to Viceroy’ were crowd pleasers with their gorgeous atonal riffs and Mac’s soft enthralling vocals. Another conversation topic that was started after these was British Politics. The room erupted into chanting ‘IN IN IN’ and later ‘CORBYN CORBYN’- it was an incredible moment.
The insane crowd continued from ‘without me’, through particular favourites ‘let her go’ and ‘my kind of woman’ and by this point the air was laced with the all too familiar stench of sweat, beer and fags. I had unintentionally moved around the whole floor so far, being led by the mosh pits and crazed fans. The band chilled things out with an instrumental break. Random riffs surged through the room as tumultuous cheers egged the band on for more. I heard a guys behind me say “But they haven’t even played Chamber of reflection”; it was like a gift from the heavens as the legendary opening arrangement boomed through the speakers.
After the end of the hypnotic scores of ‘Still together’, Mac climbed onto the balcony and encouraged the crowd below him. After a minute of screams and jostles from the audience, Mac leaped backwards and surfed the entire floor of London’s KOKO, engulfed by the deafening screams enclosing him.
The lights came up on 1,410 starstruck fans; completely mellowed out whilst similarly drenched in sweat. Everyone rushed to the bar and began queuing for the cloakroom when Mac and the boys grabbed their instruments again and sent the riff of Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’ into the room. I don’t think I have ever ran into a mosh pit as fast as when I heard that encore track. Everyone danced and moshed and I could feel everyone buzzing with elation.
The gig was amazing and it has only made me love Mac Demarco even more than I did already. Everything from the pure musical quality to the humorous stage presence contributed to this unique experience, not to mention meeting the talented front man! I would highly recommend getting tickets to Mac Demarco next time he is near you.