Music review: Mac DeMarco

Mac Demarco
Mac Demarco
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Just instruments and amps and a big blue ice bucket full of beer – rarely has a band brought a more scuzzy basic setup to the grand Usher Hall. A natural irreverence runs in slacker-y Canadian singer-songwriter Mac DeMarco’s veins, and it’s an inspiration and a revelation. In a common indicator of a cult phenomenon in the offing, many of his young acolytes came to the show dressed like their hero, in beaten-up baseball caps, oversized T-shirts, turned-up jeans and white socks.

Usher Hall, Edinburgh *****

An unlikely blend of lo-fi indie, smooth yacht rock and whacked-out humour – think Beat Happening meets Steely Dan meets Bill Hicks – DeMarco’s music is an internet-reared millennial mash. Songs like No Other Heart, For The First Time and My Kind of Woman cloaked heartfelt emotion in a thin veneer of deceptive irony.

The charm of this gig was the way he and his four-piece band played it with all the funny, ramshackle, good-natured insouciance of a drunken practice room session. One young fan even invited himself on stage to perfectly nail the guitar solo at the end of Ode to Viceroy.

The beer bucket long since emptied, the final 20 minutes descended into glorious mess and chaos as the chords of Still Together were churned over. Stripped to the waist, DeMarco sent his amp toppling with a perfectly executed fly-kick. While an overenthusiastic stage invader wrestled a security guard, drummer Joe McMurray crowd-surfed to the back of the room, before DeMarco tired the same thing while riding a flight case, only to promptly topple over and be swallowed by the crowd.

Long may his reign of life-affirming disorder continue.

MALCOLM JACK