By: Sun N.
Mac DeMarco’s fifth LP, This Old Dog, was undoubtedly of the most anticipated albums in indie rock this year. Not only did the multi instrumentalist decide to tour the album immediately, but also decided to go on an extensive tour around both Europe and North America, which kicked off in May up and will go on until the fall. Several bands including The Garden and Tonstartssbandht will join DeMarco on tour until his joint tour with the Flaming Lips across America this fall before going back to Europe once again. It seems like quite the busy schedule for someone who’s a “Slacker” although DeMarco is known for touring extensively even without releasing anything within that time period.
On Wednesday May 11th, DeMarco finally returned to Montreal to play two sold out, back-to-back shows at the Metropolis. It was the first time in nearly three times that he played a show here, hence why there was another date added. I got to meet DeMarco before soundcheck and ask him a few questions regarding the process of working on the album. He states that he began working on this body of work later last year and finished it around Christmas time, which seems rather quick for quite a raw album. It appears that the album deals with a lot more of his personal problems, allowing for many of his auditors to relate. He also opted out from pitching his voice which was a pleasant change, given that his soft voice and the use of synthesizers in more of the songs compliment each other well. In fact, “Moonlight on the River” which is my favourite track culminates with a long psychedelic outro that sounds so heavenly live. Songs from Rock and Roll Nightclub were also removed from his set lists for that same reason.
The band was also joined by a new member, Alec who plays keys for the upcoming tour dates. As well, guitarist Andy White and his brother Edwin’s band, Tonstartssbandht joined for the first North American leg. Their set was quite alluring given that the sound was less atmospheric and more pleasant compared to the last time the duo came here to play a gig at Bar le Ritz.
As soon as DeMarco and friends entered the stage to open with “Salad Days” the entire room automatically lit up. The crowd was loud to the extent where it was almost difficult to hear, even from the first few rows. The rest of the show was rather unappealing and painfully exhausting but that was simply because of the crowd. There was something quite entertaining about observing the bands reaction to the disruptive crowd members so that was amusing. The stage banter was also excellent. DeMarco’s rather strange cover of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” was also hillarious, definitely my highlight of the show. It almost seemed as though he was going for one of his classic voice over impersonations.
The band essentially played a fifteen song set with songs from 2, Salad Days, Another One and This Old Dog. The set list was comprised of:
1. Salad Days
2. No other heart
3. For the first time
4. Stars keep on calling my name
5. This old dog
6. Wolf in sheeps clothes
7. Cooking up something good
8. Another one
9. Ode to viceroy
10. Chamber of reflection
11. Dreams from yesterday
12. Freaking out the neighbourhood
13. One more love song
14. My kind of woman
15. Moonlight on the river
16. On the level
17. Still together
Here’s a clip of Mac DeMarco performing “For the First Time” off his brand new record.