Gap-toothed chicken dance
Across from Ace of Spades, a line of eager hipsters rocking cowboy hats, flannels and facial piercings crowded the sidewalks from R to 14th streets. What drew them out on a rainy weekday night? Lo-fi musician and master of chill Mac DeMarco, of course.
On May 16, the indie rocker sold out his first show in Sacramento during a tour for his fourth album Here Comes the Cowboy, the debut release on his own Mac’s Record Label. For such a tranquil dude, DeMarco brought his version of rock-star energy by swinging around the mic, adding chicken-like dance moves.
Holiday Sidewinder opened. Twirling around the stage in a royal blue leotard, the Australian artist was like an indie-pop Britney Spears with her microphone headset and singalongs. During her last song, the blonde infiltrated the crowd.
Eerie piano played in a loop between sets, and when it stopped, the anxious audience cheered as though it was time for DeMarco. Nope. More piano loops. Well played, Mac. But by the third stop, the venue went dark, and silhouettes emerged onstage.
DeMarco gave a trademark gap-toothed smile and began strumming the chords to “Salad Days,” a song from his second album by the same name. During “On the Level” from his third album, This Old Dog, DeMarco dug his arms in a T-rex fashion, bobbing his head like a chicken around the stage. The energy was misleading; when he put the mic up to his lips, he gently sung the lyrics, “On the level / carrying a name / fall until my final day.”
The 29-year-old continued to perform songs off his new album, as well as crowd favorites. He stopped to ask what to eat around Sacramento. Fans yelled out food recommendations as DeMarco described a burger with a cheese skirt from Squeeze Inn that he heard about from an Ace staffer. Guitarist Andy White butted in to ask for a good hardware store.
After playing two hours, DeMarco ended with “Still Together.” Fans took over singing the chorus. After the song, White bellowed out Grover Washington Jr.’s “Just The Two of Us,” but with a twist. He started rapping to the Austin Powers in Goldmember version, complete with a Dr. Evil impression. The music reverted back to “Still Together,” and DeMarco hit the last high-pitch lyric, said “Night” and exited.
The rodeo of hipsters chanted for an encore. DeMarco returned and asked everyone to sit down and light up their phones. Surrounded by the smart phone twinkles, he sang “Watching Him Fade Away” like a lullaby. When it was over, he rose, and with a gentle voice, thanked everyone for being there.