TGE Review – Mac DeMarco

Published On May 21, 2013 | By Tim Smillie | Theatre & Arts Reviews & Previews

Mac DeMarco was one of the many multiple gig artists at this year’s Great Escape Festival in Brighton. His two shows were virtually back to back, firstly at the Corn Exchange followed by The Green Door Store. Anyone familiar with the city’s venues will appreciate that these are venues at entirely separate ends of the scale with regard to capacity (1200/250) and perceived prestige (regency splendour/railway shed grunge) .

I’d read about Mac’s shows, how he ushered them into chaos, his cavalier attitude towards health and safety, his penchant for profanity; so with that in mind I rubbed my hands at the prospect of something really very exciting happening. I walked into the half full venue just as Mac came forward for his first song and did almost immediately wonder if I was in the wrong place. The verve and energy that I had felt in the clips of his live show I had seen were missing. really very missing. Mac lacked. The crowd seemed lacklustre too. Perhaps 8pm on the first night of the festival is not a great slot on reflection; the crowds are jumping from line to line, looking for that first night buzz and maybe the talent is still in first gear. I slouched out of the Corn Exchange with a Canadian shaped hole in my heart.

The evening sluiced along and as darkness took a deep hold I found myself at a rammed Green Door Store and in time for Mac Pt II. The GDS was its usual sweaty, grimy pit of filth and I immediately felt more at home. So did Mac. The contrast with the first show was startling, Mac owned the GDS and instead of the early evening lethargy of before, we had the true essence of the fella here in our hands. The same songs that were so different from the first take, it was like the Pixies had covered some Lighthouse Family tracks.

The crowd reacted in the only way you can when faced with such energy in front of you; they jumped, they pushed, they fell over, they got up again, they screamed down every note. The beautiful finale was Mac taking to the roof, legs wrapped around the GDS girders as he dangled like a monkey attempting to attract a mate. He even managed to sing half of the final track from this precarious position before being crowd surfed not just to the fringe of the crowd but out of the venue altogether into the street. That dear reader, is how you rock.

WORDS by Tim Smillie

About The Writer

I'm a writer, a runner, a poet and all round above average entity. A self-exiled Londoner, I've lived in Brighton for 20 years and am still revelling in living by the sea.