Okay, I’m just going to come out and say it: It was really weird when Mac DeMarco was jerking off to his band in the crowd at the end of his show at The Fox on Thursday. The audience held him up with one of his hands while the other was in his pants, as he blatantly touched himself to guitarist Andrew Charles White, bassist Rory McCarthy and drummer Joe McMurray. Both musically and literally, “Together”, the song he and his friends close out every show with, became a unified, ten-minute-too-long musical jerkoff.
Hail to the bucket hat wearing, PBR chugging, current king of indie rock. Since McBriare Samuel Lanyon “Mac” DeMarco’s 2014 release Salad Days, the Canadian singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has become a cultural master of the dirtbag aesthetic. DeMarco saturated the Colorado scene this week, opening for Tame Impala at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, playing The Ogden in Denver, and taping a podcast episode with eTown before his last stop in the Centennial state, a sold out show at Boulder’s Fox Theatre.
The moshing began well before Macko and his crew took the stage. Denver based psych-pop outfit Sunboy gave a knockout performance, with lush instrumental arrangements that gave this relatively fresh local band a crowd ready to lose their minds for Mac. Sunboy put out their first EP this August, Yesterday Is in Love With You, and are still riding that album release high. Frontman Justin Renaud, who alternates between acoustic/electric guitars and keys, usually in-between an enthusiastic “whoop” or two, had a charisma and stage presence that made for a daring and mature performance, before the immaturity to come.
After that, wild doesn’t even begin to cover it. I lost my shoe in “Salad Days”, the second track in DeMarco’s set. By that point, the crowd was in full mosh mode to songs like “The Way You Love Her” and “Just To Put Me Down”, from the 2016 mini-album Another One. Comfort zones didn’t exist after that. College girls launched an assortment of lace panties at Mac, and even broke the fourth wall to deliver him a “crown” of cigarettes. I found my sneaker a couple of songs later, after slamming into BolderBeat photographer Hannah Oreskovich, and the teenage girls at the very front of the crowd.
The same teenage girls must have had a premonition about Macko and friends’ displays of mind-altering public affection. Gushing over their first kisses, or wishing their first kiss was a Macko kiss, all three of the BolderBeat writers at this show had to ask themselves, “Are we too old, too jaded to love Macko?” The answer is maybe, but we’re also critics.
Personally, I’ve always been a little skeptical of magic Mac. He’s been on my radar since his Salad Days EP release in 2014. I’ve taken to tracks like “Treat Her Better” and “Let My Baby Stay.” I’m empathetic to these tracks because they remind me of an archetype I met in college: the sympathetic stoner that’s feeling a little blue about his relationship prospects. But Demarco’s live show aesthetic is much more like a performance of “Let Her Go” on steroids.
If you caught Macko and friends’ opening act for Tame Impala at Red Rocks Wednesday night, Thursday night’s show was four times the methodological madness, with singer/songwriter and guitarist Ryley Walker (who also taped a set Thursday with eTown), dousing himself in PBR between crowd dives after DeMarco brought him onstage, just for the hell of it. Demarco and White visibly tongued each other during their behind-the-back guitar solos, and most members of the band were shirtless by the end of their set. Mac DeMarco brought the boys club to The Fox on Thursday, giving all the Boulder bros in the crowd the excuse to go mad, and the rest of us a chance to watch the insanity in splendor and shock.
All photos per Hannah Oreskovich for BolderBeat. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.