If you're at all familiar with Canadian wunderkind Mac DeMarco, you know that his outlook on life has come to embody the slacker/stoner/what-have-you mindset of goofy adolescence. His albums reflect this in its music too, which falls somewhere between jangly sunshine pop and funky singer-songwriterisms, the kind of music that seems designed to soundtrack barbecues and other beer-fueled gatherings.
This description betrays the fact, however, that though DeMarco's music is certainly a fun time, he has a pretty strong tendency towards sentimental croon-fests. Most of his songs are ballads, and yet when DeMarco took the stage at the Gothic Theater Monday night, nothing could keep the crowd from slamming against each other at any opportunity.
I'll admit: I ended up getting pretty hammered for this show, partially because I'd heard that DeMarco's shows had a tendency to get kind of wild, but also because basically everyone I know who likes music was planning on going. DeMarco's become hugely successful these past couple years, even in an age where trendy surf bands come about a dime a dozen, and the crowd at the Gothic was packed and palpably psyched.
Basically every time DeMarco announced the groups' next song, the audience roared with approval, and regardless of the tempo, crowd surfers began flinging themselves into the pit. In my hazy state, it all still felt very appropriate. DeMarco egged the crowd on to keep doing whatever they felt like. DeMarco himself, despite some onstage banter, played all the songs fairly straight, and seemed dedicated to remaining true to his weepy-yet-cheerful songs.
That is, until the last performance of the night.
"Still Together," the closing acoustic number on his 2012 album 2, started off as unassuming as the album version, but out of nowhere built to a raging climax where DeMarco leapt into the audience and began scaling the balcony to high-five people.
The crowd was delighted to see DeMarco finally join their ranks, and all the while DeMarco never lost his bucktoothed smile.
Normally, it feels kind of annoying when a crowd won't shut up during a show where the music itself is fairly quaint. But somehow DeMarco mixed these philosophies just splendidly, making for one of the most unique concert experiences I've ever had. Like his music, the surface level may have seemed bittersweet, but at its heart it was a show designed for having a good time to, no matter what.
Sam Goldner is the music director at CU-Boulder's Radio 1190. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.