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Mac De Marco Nambucca London 01 03 17 Photo by Jamie Cameron 23 of 46

Acoustic guitars and crowd surfing: Mac Demarco live in London

07 March 2017, 15:30 | Written by Jack Dutton

“This show’s going to be a little different to the shows I’ve done before,” said Mac DeMarco as he faced a rowdy crowd at Nambucca.

Nambucca - a diminutive pub wedged on Holloway Road, North London - is much smaller than the typical venue Mac plays in when he's in London. He’s due to play two sold out shows at Brixton Academy at the end of May, a venue that can accommodate nearly 5,000. At this show though, there couldn’t have been much more than 200 people in the room.

As well as this, Mac was playing a solo set. He had been in the UK for a few days promoting his upcoming album This Old Dog without his band, and was playing this show after doing the promotion.

Having seen him play several times with a live band, hearing simpler and slowed down versions of "Stars Keep Calling My Name" and "Ode to Viceroy" was refreshing. Although it was just one man and his guitar, the audience made up for the absence of the band, singing along with the words and filling in for some of the missing guitar solos.

In between and sometimes during songs Mac would break into giggling fits and start talking about joking about topics such as eating a Subway for lunch, The Beatles’ genitalia and his mum watching Law & Order.

Along with Mac’s jokes, the audience was also treated to some new material off his upcoming third album, This Old Dog. The first track off the album he performed was called "Still Beating", which carried slightly mournful undertones. The theme seemed to be about an unrequited love, featuring cheesy lines like: “how can my heart still beat for you even if you can’t feel it beating? Honey I cry too, you better believe it.” The album’s title track, the more promising of the two new numbers, sounded much more thoughtful and reflective than the music off 2 and Salad Days, and very much like it would be a future favourite.

The new songs were devoid of DeMarco’s trademark shoegaze-y distorted guitars, which are instead replaced by acoustic guitars and low-fi synths. According to DeMarco, the new album is streamlined to mainly feature acoustic guitar, drums and a synthesiser, so perhaps the live version wasn’t too different to what the recorded version will sound like when it comes out.

Performed acoustically without the band, sometimes some of Mac’s tracks lost their playfulness, but others sounded even more excited than the versions with a full band. Older tracks "Cookin’ Up Something Good" and "Blue Boy" both sounded all the more charming on just an acoustic guitar.

Mac DeMarco closed with the melodic "The Way You Love Her", from his last EP Another One. Before he began the second verse, he told everyone in the audience to embrace the person next to them, even if they were strangers. After getting on with the rest of the song, Mac found himself being embraced by two audience members on stage. Others quickly followed towards the end of the song and before you knew it, people from the audience surrounded him in what had turned into an opportunity for selfies. The members of the audience wouldn’t get off the stage and had to be moved off by security, with the rest of the crowd chanting for them to get off and let Mac DeMarco finish his set.

But even after the people had been cleared off the stage, the chaos continued. While playing finishing with "Together", he ended the show in typical Mac fashion, crowd surfing through the tiny venue until the audience ferried him to the bar, where he ordered a beer and before crowd surfing back to the stage. Even in this tiny venue, it wouldn’t be a Mac DeMarco show without some crowd surfing.

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