Cigarettes and Stage Dives: A Wednesday Night Bender With Mac Demarco in Austin

You've probably heard of Mac Demarco by now. The goofy, gap-toothed Canadian has taken the world by storm with his vibrato-heavy guitar licks and "slacker rock" style (although I prefer his description of "jizz jazz"). If for some reason (i.e. you live under a rock or hate puppies and ice cream) you haven't gotten familiar with Demarco, heres a quick video to give you an idea of what he's all about.

Mac has been to Austin a few times now, most recently a sold-out show at Stubb's Amphitheater. It was a fun show to say the least; of course it was chock-full of 17-year-olds smoking off-brand cigarettes and wearing vans with their pants rolled halfway up their calves. He covered all of his hits, especially those off of his newest album, This Old Dog. When the crowd settled in and got a bit riled up, he brought down the house with a hilarious cover of Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles", playing through the entire progression of the song, but only repeating "making my way downtown" for six minutes. I left satisfied that I had seen the best Mac had to offer.

That perception changed last Wednesday when Mac played a three hour "concert" at the much smaller Mohawk in Austin. After delivering a tame, TV appropriate show at ACL Live on Tuesday, Mac gave the audience a wine-fueled promise: the show at Mohawk would be a "nasty" one.

The first 90 minutes of the show resembled a typical and wild Demarco performance. A mix of up-beat jams, heart-felt love songs to his sweet KiKi, and lots of cigarettes graced the stage. Here is a clip from a crowd favorite, "My Kind of Woman":

As the crowd engagement went up and the level of Mac's Jameson Whiskey bottle went down, things took a turn. No one is quite sure if the turn was for the worse or the better, but one thing is certain: it was a wild ride and most definitely delivered on the promise of getting "nasty".

The next hour and a half was a display of broken (yet wildly entertaining) covers of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Van Halen, Radiohead, The Beatles, Limp Bizkit, Crazy Town, Weezer, and some that were simply unidentifiable. The crowd attempted to sing along, but finally settled into simply enjoying the ride. For some of the songs, Mac decided to rest his vocal chords and take over on the drum set, leaving drummer Joe McMurray to belt out the lyrics of "Under the Bridge", "Say It Ain't So", and a few more tracks. Let's just say, I'm thankful the crowd decided to chime in and make it a sing-a-long.

After hearing enough of Joe's singing, Mac ordered him to crowd surf to the back of the venue and climb up the balcony. When Mac told Joe to dive off, he nervously resisted, until the crowd and Demarco himself egged him on until he had no choice but to dive headfirst into the sea of concert-goers.

At this point in the show, it had been a few hours since Mac had last been with his beloved girlfriend, Kiera. So, like any logical performer, he jumped to the rafters above the stage, and shimmied his way over to the side balcony, where he promptly upside-down Spider-Man kissed his sweet Kiera, much to the crowd's delight.

As if that were not wild enough, Mac, seemingly jealous of Joe for his stage dive, decided to follow suit. Now shirtless, he made his way to balcony of Mohawk, directing his band to increase the pace of each instrument, and showed off his best belly flop.

It is hard to say exactly what happened next. While I don't think its fair to say he played through any of his other songs at this point, there was definitely sound coming from the speakers. The crowd rocked out with the band, everyone simply enveloped in the pure joy of the night.

The show ended with love from Mac and his friends, both on and off the stage. With an invitation to join him and the crew next door at Cheer Up Charlies, and encore chants to boot, he left the stage with his signature gap-toothed smile.

Mac, I think I can speak for the rest of Austin when I say, we can't wait to have you back my friend.

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