Mac DeMarco wants to be your friend

Mac DeMarco performsat the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Saturday Oct. 4, 2014. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Mac DeMarco performsat the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Saturday Oct. 4, 2014. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Mac DeMarco performsat the Austin City Limits Music Festival in Zilker Park on Saturday Oct. 4, 2014. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Mac DeMarco wants to be your buddy, and you should probably take him up on it — he seems like a really chill dude. Dressed like he takes fashion tips from “Wayne’s World,” the goofy Canadian guitar guy in the cap and unbuttoned flannel shirt never comes off as too cool for his crowd, which has the funny effect of making him all the more cool. Throughout his ACL Fest Saturday set, he made sure the audience, which seemed to skew to just at or below the drinking age, felt on equal footing and that those feet were moving.

From taking audience requests (and cigarettes) to singing “Happy Birthday” to a young fan in the front row, the unassuming slacker rocker spent as much time talking with the audience as performing for them.

Besides being a darn fine guitar player, DeMarco and his band have spontaneous, humorous stage chat down pat. The resulting show felt half rock gig, half improv comedy show. Upon accepting the aforementioned crowd cigarette, DeMarco sang — in perfect Eddie Vedder fashion, “Jeremy’s smoking, smoking.” When his bassist joked that DeMarco should watch out because Pearl Jam might be in the crowd or “backstage doing transcendental meditation,” Mac replied, “The Jam’s at ACL this year? I gotta look at the schedule for these things more often,” before dedicating a song to Vedder.

But it would be a mistake to take DeMarco and Co.’s hijinks as a mask for lack of musicianship. DeMarco is a beast on guitar, and for all his lovable gap-toothed grinning and wise-cracking, there were some genuinely heartfelt moments, like the sweet and falsetto-filled “Let My Baby Stay.”

Of course, fans know it wouldn’t be a Mac DeMarco show without some wild cover song selections. Today he skipped the usual medley for a single song, Bob Marley’s “Jamming,” which he brought a fan up to sing before launching him to crowd surf through “Freaking Out the Neighborhood.”

Mac DeMarco plays a sold-out show tonight at Scoot Inn.

Setlist
“Salad Days”
“The Stars Keep Calling My Name”
“Blue Boy”
“Cooking Up Something Good”
“Passing Out the Pieces”
“Let Her Go”
“Viceroy”
“Brother”
“I’m a Man”
“Let My Baby Stay”
“Rock and Roll Nightclub”
“Jamming” (Bob Marley cover)
“Freaking Out the Neighborhood”
“Happy Birthday”
“Chamber of Reflection”
“Together”

Author: Eric Pulsifer

Austinite and lover of new music, dinosaur doodles, good beer and breakfast foods. Blogs at TuesdayNewsday.com. Tweets at @SupercoolEric.

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