Mac Demarco "on the level" with Radio City legends
Written and photographed by: Mica Kendall
From peeing on stage, shoving a cactus into his eye, smashing beer bottles with little care, allowing a dinosaur to crowd surf, and lastly inviting a fan on stage, Mac Demarco’s debut show at Radio City Music hall was a night that everyone in attendance would remember. Not only did Demarco put on a crazy concert at one of the most iconic music venues, but he stayed true to his charismatic character just as if he was playing at an intimate bar venue.
Demarco delivered a hefty, hour long 17 track set with a great mixture of his older albums combined with his 2017 release This Old Dog. He kicked off the show with the mesmerizing infectious beat track “On the Level” without his guitar as he strolled across the stage, mic in hand, taking in the sold out 6,015 people present in the audience ranging from the floor to the fourth tier of the theater.
Moving on through his nostalgic set consisting of old Demarco classics such as: “Salad Days,” “No other Heart,” “Stars Keep Calling My Name,” and “Cooking up Something Good,” midway through the set before “My Old Man”, Demarco granted a fan named Josh his wish on his sign to be on stage and allowed Josh to shake a shaker on stage for the rest of the entire show. By the time “My Kind of Woman” was played I was expecting Mac’s girlfriend, Kiki, to make her debut on stage during the song, which has been done in previous shows and festivals, but given the uniqueness of the show Demarco had a different idea in mind.
Mac gave fans a raw rendition of the Demarco classic by silencing the audience and rest of the band by playing a soft acoustic rendition of the fan favorite. Experiencing the performance front row this part of the show gave me chills and left me breathless, as Demarco’s almost whispery vocals and delicate sounding guitar strings resonated throughout the entire silenced venue. However, a completely silent crowd for Demarco is unheard of as towards the end of the song he invited the crowd to sing the chorus for him repeatedly to the extent where I and the rest of the crowd were screaming “and I’m down on my hands and knees begging you baby please show me your world” at the top of our lungs.
The special intimacy between Mac and the fans was also evident towards the end of his set during the song that emotionally hits on an incomprehensible scale for majority of Demarco fans being “Chamber of Reflection.” What happened during that song specifically was something I never thought I would see at a Mac Demarco show when I turned my attention away from my front row view and looked behind me to see practically every phone light on during the song. The theater was practically illuminated from the floor to the fourth tier purely by phone flashlights that were all in sync swaying back in forth throughout the whole song. The fan display of appreciation towards Mac as an artist and this song even left Demarco in shock as he said with a smile while looking at all the phone lights, “that’s crazy shit.” It was honestly as if each phone light was the crowd’s way of displaying their respect towards Mac and how his music has uniquely touched each individual amidst a crowd of 6,000 people.
Needless to say, Demarco’s debut at Radio City showed he was just as capable of selling out an iconic venue as the other musical legends who have stepped foot on the same historical stage like Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and plentiful more notable artists. The show was for sure a huge milestone in Demarco’s career and proves that other artists no matter the music genre or fame popularity, anyone with genuine pure talent like Mac Demarco can headline a show at one of the most historic venues in the most populated city of America.