Mac DeMarco’s latest meander down under saw the OG jizz-jazzer and his bandmates hit the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney for the first show of the tour, with the spectacular stylings of CHAI and POND on support.
The former is an awesome female quartet from Nagoya, Japan. Their pop/rock/synth fusion and adorable humour blew some minds and charmed the pants off the burgeoning crowd. I actually spotted a few die-hard fanatics mimicking their choreography more than once. Add them to your must-see list.
What is it about Mac DeMarco? We’re well acquainted with his infectious warmth and humour by now – so much in fact that every time he comes to town, we never want it to end.
The latter is, of course, the staggering Perth psych five-piece. This was one of the more mellow sets of theirs that I’ve seen, but POND slap hard no matter what. Always a pleasure to watch Nick Allbrook throw himself into a throng of adoring fans.
Then came the cowboy. We open with On The Level, as Mac schmoozes around on stage in a kind of Monster Mash meets T-Rex waltz. New tune Nobody melts into all-time favourite Salad Days. Every track is received by an emphatic choir singing along to every word.
Mac invites the crowd to sing the chorus to My Old Man on their own and we all gleefully oblige, exploding in unison. During Choo Choo, someone hands him a rainbow flag which he grabs with his mouth and somehow drapes over himself, without missing a beat. Another punter throws a cowboy sheriff hat on stage, but guitarist Andy isn’t having it. “Hey, Sheriff Hat? You don’t want this. All cops are bastards.” I wonder if Mac has any po-po fans in the audience tonight.
At this point someone named Violet is pulled up on stage to play the shaker as Mac flails his arms to goad more applause. We dip into dank anthem Ode To Viceroy. It dawns on me that Mac is both larger than life and salt of the Earth, very effortlessly, at the same time. It’s an ultra rare card to come by but Mac plays it with ease.
Stage lights off, phone lights on for Another One. An ocean of dotted lights illuminate the warehouse. Not long after the magic subsides, a chant of “Fuck Scomo” erupts in the throw.
Mac: “What are you saying?” Chanting boozily resumes. “Hold it… What???”
Andy chooses one lucky punter to explain. “Apparently everyone is saying Scott Morrison.”
There’s booing and then cheering as confused LA-via-NY-via-Edmonton Mac figures it out. He announces the next song will be a quiet one which “may or may not work, we’ll see”. We slide into Still Beating, it decidedly does. “Thank you for singing, I like that song.”
Suddenly, Andy is riffing Thunderstruck by AC/DC and there is some laid-back banter going back and forth on stage which is honestly a big part of why we all come to these shows. “Play some fuckin’ Chisel,” Mac adds in his best Aussie droll.
Freaking Out The Neighborhood fires up and it is impossible not to dance along. Andy then motions for any remaining hats to be thrown on stage. The band accessorises as Mac announces POND’s Jay Watson, “Please welcome Daddyo to the stage”, and we launch into the formative Rock and Roll Nightclub.
Andy: “Thank you, Jay Watson. You are Australia’s sickest cunt. Third year in a row.”
Mac asks the crowd if they’d rather go soft or full throttle for the next song. It’s unanimous – full throttle. My Kind Of Woman is all too swiftly followed by “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” (Chamber Of Reflection). And finally, as always, Still Together, Mac’s ode to his Kiera. We are also gifted an enduring solo from Andy, “Shhhh, it’s very rude to talk over the solo”, he prods in jest. Mac has the entire mosh crouch down and we leap into the air for the final chorus.
And then we all weep because we know we have to wait another year (probably) for this glorious night to return.