Last Night’s House of Blues Show Proved Mac Demarco’s Salad Days Really Are Gone.
Mac DeMarco is living the indie rock dream. Long adored in underground circles, the Pepperoni Playboy has broken out following the release of last year's critically acclaimed Salad Days LP, leaving behind the dingy punk clubs he was playing back then in favor of big, corporate-owned venues and write-ups in Rolling Stone. That's how, on the heels of August's mini-LP, Another One, DeMarco and his band of troublemakers found themselves in Dallas once more last night, but this time on the mighty House of Blues stage.
But are he and his cohorts ready for the big time? Could their usual antics work on the big stage? After having witnessed last night's offering, it's still tough to say. We heard someone joke after the band's set that the show would have earned “three out of five stars on Yelp — but it would have only been a 2.5 if not for that Metallica cover.”
Sure, it was a fun performance from top to bottom — and one that had male and female audience members alike swooning — but there's something a bit uncomfortable about seeing DeMarco in this type of setting. While he still manages to bring a certain edge to his performances, it comes off a little too carefully crafted here. Maybe some of that comes from his relentless tour schedule.
Either way, there's no mistaking that things are beginning to change for DeMarco, and that things aren't quite as wild as they once were. He's not hanging from the rafters like he did during his Lola's stop last spring or whipping his junk out when the show hits a lull as he's also been known to do. Sometimes you just have to grow up, I suppose. What's interesting, though, is that, as DeMarco and Co. seem to be in the beginning stages of doing just that, their audiences are growing younger and younger.
Perhaps some of that comes with the territory. DeMarco's music is the stuff that kids of all ages just sort of eat up and simply can't get enough of. Even when DeMarco jumps deep into the sea of young 'uns — see he's not completely tame just yet — and his shirt gets ripped apart by the roughhousing teens, he looks a little more distraught than usual. As he grows more comfortable playing these larger and larger venues, he'll gradually have to evolve from the type of performer that feels obligated to instigate the party at all costs into one that's comfortable sitting back and letting the party just happen.
That's a skill he's already beginning to hone. At one point last night, he complained about his audiences only throwing women's underwear onstage, joking that he'd prefer it if “they threw us something we could actually wear” — to which a sea of sweaty ball caps and flannel rained down. Yes, it's evident that DeMarco's still capable of commanding a room.
To close things out, he incited a circle pit with the blend of brute and blues that was his cover of the all-too-familiar “Enter Sandman.” Was it pandering to the latest additions to his ever-evolving crowd? Maybe. Was it still a lot of fun? Absolutely.
Haters can hate about the rapscallion's rapid ascent to the top of the indie rock mountain all they want. But there's no denying that Mac DeMarco is managing to live the dream, while making some damn good music in the process.