show review: mac demarco @ the palladium

Written by Valentino Venti

Last week, after months of touring, Mac DeMarco returned to his current hometown of LA and delivered his signature blissful indie rock for four consecutive nights. With three intimate shows at The Teragram Ballroom and one larger headlining gig at The Palladium, Mac and his band put on a fantastic show each night. I had the pleasure of seeing him at all four shows; I always catch Mac DeMarco when he plays in town, but four days in a row is a new record for sure. The Palladium was Mac’s biggest headlining show in Los Angeles since his performance at The Greek Theatre in 2015.

The show opened with two fantastic female openers: Melanie Faye and Weyes Blood. Faye, who you may remember for her soulful but technical math rock guitar videos that went viral on twitter, was first on the bill. She, with the accompaniment of her band, laid down a smooth mix of R&B and bluesy guitar playing with wavy, personal lyrics. Next up was Weyes Blood, an opener I had seen before when she opened for Father John Misty on his last tour. Weyes Blood, the alias for musician Natalie Mering, is backed by a fantastic band playing soft, slowburning singer-songwriter music. Both openers expressed their gratitude to be opening for Mac and left the stage.

About 30 minutes after Weyes Blood left the stage, the house lights went down and an uptempo fusion jazz track began playing. Along came a vocal introduction over the track individually introducing each of Mac’s band members as they walked out. Then finally, the man himself walked on stage, as he faced an uproar of cheers by fans who had been waiting all day for their barricade spot in the pit.

The band opened with “On The Level,” one of the singles from the This Old Dog album that was released last year. The Mac DeMarco signature synth sound and chorus layered guitars carried throughout the sold out LA crowd. Each night, the setlist changed to fit his mood. The Palladium show’s setlist didn’t include as much instrumental jamming or covers as the previous three nights. Instead, Mac and the band gave the crowd song after song with limited banter in between. From hits such as “Ode To Viceroy,” to deep cuts like “Rock and Roll Night Club,” the songs were played with more energy than usual despite it being Mac’s fourth performance in a row.

A standout moment at every Mac show I’ve been to within the last year or so has been his tear-jerking, under-tempo, singalong version of “My Kind of Woman.” He expressed his general lack of interest in the song by prefacing that they have “been playing this song for many years now and are very tired of it. But you wanna hear it so here you go. Sing along if you know it!” The audience members did want to hear it, which was made obvious by the collective singing every lyric. By the end of the song, the sold out Palladium crowd was singing along. Even Mac had appeared to have changed his tone.

After the emotional, feedback filled “Moonlight On The River” came the two songs known for closing out every Mac show, “Chamber of Reflection” followed by the timeless “Still Together.” “Still Together” was dedicated, as always, to his girlfriend Kiera, who was found sitting on the side of the stage at the band’s bistro table. Per tradition, Mac stage dove and rode the wave all the way to the back of the venue after the second chorus of the song. While fans frantically tried to partake in Mac’s crowd surfing, guitarist Andy White took lead vocals and performed a handful of Misfits covers. Just when you thought Mac was about to return to the stage and finish the songs, he asked the band to replay every Misfits song that had just been played once more, this time with Mac on guitar and backing vocals. After about 20 minutes of “Hollywood Babylon,” “Hybrid Moments,” and “Where Eagles Dare,” they finally finished the last chorus of “Still Together” and finished the show.

As the venue cleared out in minutes, the crowd seemed to leave with more than they expected. There was an outstanding aura of pure joy and happiness that always seems to fill the air after a DeMarco gig, so I recommend catching him when he comes to your city on the upcoming “Purple Bobcat By The River” solo acoustic tour. Although there is no Los Angeles date issued as of now, keep a lookout for more tour dates to be announced. Mac DeMarco is also one of the headliners at Tropicalia, which takes place the weekend of November 3-4 in Long Beach.

To see Mac’s tour dates, check out his website here: https://www.mac-demarco.com/tour/.

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