Article and Photos by: Melanie Allen
Indie rock poster boy Mac DeMarco swung through Austin this Tuesday, touring behind the release of his mini LP, Another One. Supporting Mac on his first large scale Austin show were Walter TV and The Alex Calder Band.
Pulling stylistically from noise rock and punk and born out of the same Canadian wave of warbling indie rock as Mac himself, Walter TV proved to be an energetic start to the night, keeping the restless crowd moving without a lull in the set. Walter TV, interestingly enough, predates Mac’s own solo work, and is composed of DeMarco’s live backing band, Pierce McGarry, Joe McMurray, and Andy White.
Captured Tracks label mate Alex Calder went on shortly after Walter TV, slowing the overall pace of the show. Alex Calder came out of the gate with sticky hooks and a slick rhythm section, but the vocal line was untouched by effects. The Alex Calder Band has a great load of potential, but their live set ultimately left the crowd a bit bored, and extremely antsy for Mac’s appearance.
As it neared DeMarco’s 9:00 start time, the crowd grew noticeably more volatile. As he strolled on stage at promptly 9:03 with his goofy, gap-toothed grin, the audience lost all semblance of rational human beings. As if on cue, the first 40 rows of people compressed into half the space they were previously occupying, and released a deafening roar. Mac opened up the show with the first single off of his new record, “The Way You’d Love Her,” and the energy in the air was palpable. The crowd sang every word with a mouthful of cigarette smoke, and by mid-set the opening chords to DeMarco’s iconic tune “Ode to Viceroy” rang out over Stubb’s, it was snowing ash and sweat.
Mac touched every part of his discography (albeit noticeably missing any content from his first album, Rock and Roll Night Club) with his trademark charm and humor, often leaving the crowd with cramping sides, and ended his set with a tradition—the song “Still Together,” complete with a crowd surf by Mac himself. This rendition of the normally acoustic track was beefed up heavily by his backing band, and included an inspirational spoken word piece by guitarist Andy White, followed by an absolutely mind bending guitar solo.
Mac and the boys left the stage shortly after, only to return for their noteworthy encore—a fifteen minute rendition of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” to be completed with bassist Pierce McGarry climbing onto the Stubb’s roof, and Andy White playing guitar with his toes. Mac and his band left the stage for the final time that night to the cadence of distortion and feedback, leaving an audience where no soul could even think of saying “that’s it?” Mac DeMarco and his band put on an incredible, energetic performance, and we’re looking forward to seeing them again in Austin.