“Fuck Taco Bell!” was the unlikely slogan of last Monday evening’s Mac DeMarco show at the Fox Theater in Oakland. In between songs, the odd-ball artist joked about hugging the toilet after a meal at the popular fast food chain, and the crowd absolutely gobbled up the comedy, cheering as drummer Joe McMurray fashioned a beat to the chant.
Assembly-line Mexican food aside, DeMarco’s quirky and charming demeanor lit up the Fox. The thing about DeMarco and his band is that they really don’t give a shit. They play with the audience — doing little stand-up acts in between songs that usually involve farting noises and references to diarrhea. The band itself seemed like a group of potty-mouthed suburban brothers trying to piss one another off in the most loving way possible. This togetherness manifests itself within the confines of the band but also blooms in the audience as concert-goers come together to point and laugh at the onstage absurdity.
Perhaps a concert-cum-comedy show sounds fulfilling in and of itself, but the Pepperoni Playboy had to add yet another surprising element. Onstage was a large, round table complete with a tablecloth, centerpiece and flowers. Around this table sat some of DeMarco’s friends, who stayed for the duration of the show to give moral support, sip Sierra Nevada and spray the audience with Capri Sun. They occasionally meandered to center stage to dance with the guitarists, make out in the limelight and, at one point, even lift DeMarco on their shoulders, which made the concert almost like an interactive performance-art piece.
What sets a DeMarco show apart from any other is this magical combination of elements, this “let your freak flag fly” mentality that extends itself to performers and concert-goers alike. For example, a mosh pit isn’t exactly what is imagined at a concert for a musician whose music is described as “meditative” and “impossibly chill,” but of course, that happened. When band interns were forced to stage dive as part of “initiation,” things took a turn for the even wilder (if possible): DeMarco stage dived, somehow managing to crowd surf his way to the back of the venue.
It might be noteworthy to mention DeMarco’s setlist (he mostly played songs from his last two albums, Another One and Salad Days, in case you’re wondering), but his music was overshadowed by his presence, which wasn’t necessarily a detriment. The music was magical, of course — it’s Mac DeMarco we’re talking about — but the intriguing peculiarities and oddities are what will be remembered most.
If one thing holds true, it’s that DeMarco and his band are a helluva group. Though we came for the music, we stayed for the party.
Contact Addy Bhasin at [email protected].