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Mac Demarco at Orpheum Theater: Making his way to downtown New Orleans

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Amid a sea of cuffed light-wash denim, round glasses frames and baseball caps, trendy young adults buzzed in anticipation of their musical beacon of adolescence: Mac Demarco. The indie rock musician performed at the Orpheum Theater Wednesday evening, Sept. 27. Both longtime fans and Mac Demarco newbies came out to see the show.

“I’ve been listening to Mac Demarco for probably like three or four years now,” concert attendee Lee Dimattia said. “My friends in high school were big fans of him, so they kind of put me on to that. I’m hoping he plays some older stuff like ‘Salad Days’…”

Opening for Demarco was twin brother duo The Garden. Band members and twins Wyatt and Fletcher Shears incited a few mosh pits from the crowd with their high energy drum solos and silly on-stage antics.

During their set they somersaulted, ran laps around the equipment, jumped off speakers and danced shamelessly along to their own songs including “This Could Build Us a Home” and “Egg.” They closed their performance with the exhilarating track “All Smiles Over Here.” Though most of the audience had not heard of The Garden before, by the end of the set, the crowd was chanting for an encore.

As The Garden departed the stage, the same thrilling electricity of excitement returned, pulsing through the audience, but this time even stronger than before. The promise of Demarco’s presence was only minutes away.

Eventually the lights set the stage awash with a saturated blue, and immediately Mac Demarco and his band followed.

Demarco introduced each band member with a presence that commanded the attention of seemingly every concert-goer in the venue. After the charming introduction, they launched into “On the Level” from Demarco’s latest album “This Old Dog” and then, a classic song to many listeners, “Salad Days,” complete with live maracas.

In a time when cell phones reign over adolescence, it was peculiar to see the crowd wave actual lighters along to the music, rather than flashlights from iPhone apps. Bodies swayed back and forth to the unique genre that could be described as the intersection of sleepy beach rock and blues with a touch of 80s synth.

Between songs, Demarco would goof off, telling jokes while in character of random personas, cackling into the microphone obscenely, conversing with specific members of the audience. 

Directly before playing the heartfelt song “The Stars Keep On Calling My Name,” Demarco exclaimed: “I’m gonna tell you the truth. I woke up at about 4:30 today … and I fucked my hand up last night … but I don’t give a fuck.”

Over the duration of the show, Demarco sipped through a bottle of Jameson whiskey, chasing it with a can of beer, which may have contributed to the absurdity for which his concerts are notorious. Toward the end of the show, it felt less like a concert and more like a comedy show.

Demarco and his band played Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” for at least ten minutes, but only sang the lyrics “Making my way downtown” in varying pitches and speeds. After a fan threw a fidget spinner on stage, Demarco jokingly used it as a guitar pick. A shirtless Demarco wore the drummer’s belt around his neck as a leash and had his photographer walk him around the stage like a dog.

When it came time for the final song of the night, Demarco dedicated it to his long-time girlfriend, Kiera McNally. Though that was the final Mac Demarco song in the set, the band continued to play covers of older songs such as “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. A jack of many trades, Demarco made the audience laugh, swoon and dance in the airwaves of nostalgia.

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Student newspaper serving Tulane University, Uptown New Orleans
Mac Demarco at Orpheum Theater: Making his way to downtown New Orleans