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Mac DeMarco Kicks Off New Tour at The Bowery Ballroom

August 18th, 2015

Mac DeMarco – The Bowery Ballroom – August 17, 2015

Mac DeMarco – The Bowery Ballroom – August 17, 2015
The Mac DeMarco phenomenon is peaking. Perhaps a strong indication of his far-reaching mass appeal is his three consecutive sold-out New York City dates this week to begin his new tour, kicking off last night at The Bowery Ballroom. DeMarco’s continuously widening appeal is thanks to the combination of the accessible substance of his music along with the quirky affability of the personality behind it. In harmonious proportion, there is his feel-good songwriting—which recalls and revitalizes the groovy sound and soulful balladry of ’70s bands like Steely Dan and the Modern Lovers—and the oddly beguiling character whose earnest eccentricity makes him curiously relatable. Add to this the gentle, playful voice you love to sing along with and what seems to be an innately effortless musicianship, and you have an artist currently setting his own trend, inviting happy followers to join.

Although DeMarco was a little subdued by an unfortunately timed cold last night, his disarming charm was on display, and it was overwhelmingly clear that everyone in the room was very happy to be there. A little vocal and guitar warm-up to engage the crowd led to the opening song on his just released album, Another One, “The Way You’d Love Her.” DeMarco has a knack for touching on what makes you listen to music in the first place: to feel giddy and open. His verses hook you with steady, easy rhythm and delightful instrumentation and then give way to choruses that are like sunbaths, walking outside for the first time on a glorious day. Eliciting sing-alongs throughout, DeMarco warmed the room with irresistibly catchy hits, like “Salad Days” and “Ode to Viceroy,” before deftly shifting into breezier gems, like “Another One.”

Distinctly good vibes permeated the room, and the set list, drawing from all of his albums, included surprising and exhilarating covers, which included an interlude of Coldplay’s “Yellow” and a raucous encore of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” setting off the room into a moshing frenzy. It was like one big musical hangout session. Perhaps some of DeMarco’s appeal is due to the reassuring vibe he puts out to the average dude, who sees that someone is living a life of his own and making simple, good music without pretension or artifice. DeMarco is identifiable to all sorts, and that’s why people adore him. —Charles Steinberg

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyshoots.com

(Mac DeMarco plays the Capitol Theatre on 10/10 and the Bearsville Theater on 10/11.)