Even in crazy times, Mac DeMarco finds ways to still be Mac DeMarco.
Except for essential workers, the entire world is —or should be— inside their homes in the wake of COVID-19, and many people artists have had to cancel their shows and tours and are left with nothing else to do except to try to pass the time. Several artists have used the quarantine as an opportunity to perform on a live stream through social media platforms such as Instagram. Such artists include Rex Orange County, Fashion Jackson, Swae Lee, and now, Mac DeMarco. As a part of La Blogothèque’s newest series, “Stay Away Shows,” DeMarco held an online show through Instagram live on April 3, 2020.
DeMarco’s show seemingly came out of nowhere due to its very minimal advertising. La Blogothèque advertised the show around 7 a.m. PST, which would be around 4 p.m. in CET. This could be considered an odd move since a lot of DeMarco’s fanbase is in North America, and the time of advertising here on the west coast was a bit too early, potentially causing it to go under the radar. Also, the only other two sources who advertised the performance were DeMarco’s girlfriend Kiera McNally and the Mac DeMarco subreddit, since DeMarco no longer has any personal social media pages. The show peaked at around 1,400 viewers, which is quite strange considering that La Blogothèque, McNally, and the subreddit have a combined total of 249,000 followers. Since DeMarco only performed six songs for a 25-minute stream, by the time people found out about the show, it already probably ended. A last strange tidbit to note is the fact that the comments were turned off, which was weird because the act before him, Soccer Mommy, had hers on. However, that is not to say that having the comments turned off was a bad thing. However, not having the comments did not detract from the intimate feeling of the performance.
During the show, only DeMarco was in the frame, but his girlfriend was behind the camera and would applaud after every song; it felt like it was just the viewer and the couple in the room. Also, the decoration of the room added to the intimate feeling as it felt exclusively and genuinely DeMarco. Cardboard cutouts of Carrie Fisher in her slave Leia outfit, Darth Vader, Dean Martin, and Frank Sinatra, a Greenpeace flag, and some of his recording equipment provided the viewers with an authentic and genuine window into his personal space. Everything in the frame made it feel lived in. This sensation of hominess and intimacy was furthered by the sound of DeMarco’s gentle acoustic guitar and his soft voice.
The first three songs were all unreleased originals and were very introspective on his personal connection with love. Lyrics like “Life could feel so good because I like her / I haven’t felt this way in a long time I do believe” on “I Like Her,” “How are you supposed to love her when you can’t look in the mirror? / Another empty bottle, don’t make anything clear out” on “You Made the Bed,” and “Told her that I loved her little early on / What’s the use of crying, honey I’ve been fooled by love this way before” on “Fooled by Love” all demonstrate DeMarco’s reflection on the sensations of love he feels, the guilt he feels for possible false feelings, and the heartbreak of love.
The fourth song of his set was “Skyless Moon” from his latest album, “Here Comes the Cowboy.” The fifth song was a cover of Irving Berlin’s “Change Partners” which DeMarco sang “in the style of Frank Sinatra, butchered by Mac DeMarco.” This was the only song in the set in which he did not play his acoustic guitar but only sang over an instrumental. DeMarco was unsure of what the sixth and final song of his set would be and eventually decided on “Still Together” from his album “2” after he jokingly stated that he had ended every set with that song for 10 years. Once the song ended, he stood up from his stool, walked to the camera, made a funny face, and ended the live stream.
I have yet to go to a Mac DeMarco concert. However, I have gone to several concerts before, and this felt different. It was the combination of his soft guitar, voice, and the overall atmosphere of the room that transported me from my room to his, and made it an enjoyable performance to watch. Shows on live streams like DeMarco’s demonstrates how this medium helps provide a connection between an artist and a fan. Through this medium, a fan can catch a further glimpse of an artist’s personality through the decor of the room. A fan can also get the taste of what it would be like to be in the same room as their favorite artist, just through a screen. Despite the limited advertisement and short show, performances like DeMarco’s give me hope during the ongoing quarantine as positivity is needed in such difficult times.
Date: April 3, 2020
Platform: Instagram Live
Image courtesy of NME.com.