Mac DeMarco Lives Up to His Wild Reputation at the Troc

Things got messy and awesome at the end of last night’s sold-out Troc show.

UPDATE [10/14/2015, 2:47 pm]: Philly YouTuber Amber Leigh captured the moment when Mac DeMarco dove from the upper-level balcony at the Troc onto the crowd of fans on the first floor. Check it out below. His ascent to the upper level begins around the 8:50 mark.

ORIGINAL: When Mac DeMarco’s fans show up to one of his gigs, there’s expectation thick in the air. The likable 25-year-old singer songwriter is known for his dreamy, slackery ballads that wax wistful over love, longing and pain. But, he and his bandmates are also known for a progressive hedonism that blooms sloppily onstage throughout their concerts. In the past, he’s been hammered during his set, or nude on stage, or touched private parts of fellow musicians, and initiated lots of crowd-surfing. Not necessarily all in one show. But you get the idea. His fans pay attention. And things did get messy and awesome at the end of last night’s sold-out Troc show.  But first …

The Canadian-born Brooklyn transplant played songs from his latest gently charming album, Another One, as well as favorites from his previous three. They go down as easy as a cold beer on a hot day with nowhere to go. Wearing a baseball cap, plain T-shirt, trousers and thick-soled sneakers, he kicked off the set in front of the packed, wolf-whistling crowd with “The Way You’d Love Her.”

His sound, anchored by the twangy pleasures of Andy White’s slide guitar and Pierce McGarry’s bass has been compared to 70s yacht rock, the kind advertised on UHF television channels where the titles scroll down the screen while in the background carefree lovers romp along a beach. DeMarco’s voice  — strongly resembling that of actor Jason Bateman — is dipped with sly earnestness and killer instincts for pleasing melodies.

The relaxed fun rolled on with DeMarco chatting with plaid-wearing, normcore and hipster fans hungry for his acknowledgment. Andy White was barefoot at this point and executing his signature yoga-cum-barre routine leg extensions while playing as the band hummed through more favorites — “Ode to Viceroy,” “Another One,” “A Heart Like Hers.” A fan tossed a Baltimore Orioles baseball cap on stage, which DeMarco obliged by putting it on and posing on the edge of the stage for his picture to be taken. “It’s a Philadelphia Seagulls cap, dumb ass!” McGarry joked.

DeMarco next emceed the departure of two band members off the front of the stage into the roaring crowd for a little surfing. He dedicated the final song of the night to his girlfriend and gave a big Barry White-style sigh before crooning “Still Together.” The long instrumental coda to that love song was merely a prelude to DeMarco’s epic round of crowd-surfing. The fans screamed with delight as he, with shoes off, hurled himself into the front section, deftly torqueing his body like a seasoned pro. He was eagerly passed along the crowd, and veered toward the side of the hall. A fan from the upper balcony caught his attention by reaching down and beckoning. DeMarco urged the fans to hoist him higher and he scrambled up to the high balcony where he paused, clinging to the balcony railing for selfies with fans.

Then slowly he turned back to the waiting fans below, who gasped at what he was about to do. And yes, he did do what we knew he shouldn’t, but hoped he would. He leapt from the Troc’s upper balcony down onto the waiting crowd below. He was miraculously caught and delivered safely back to the stage. The frenzied fans moshed and burped up more individuals to crowd-surf — some with more success than others, as DeMarco’s band completed its set.

The crowd insisted the band return and was rewarded with a ferocious 10-minute cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” Beers were opened and spilled on stage by guys from one of the other bands on the evening’s bill. Water bottles were thrown into the crowd and DeMarco planted a kiss on the mouth of one of the guys as the onstage chaos wound down. The band drove the song to its wall-of-sound guitar finish. One fan scampered onto the stage to join in the antics, but a band member quickly corralled him, so he turned and joyfully hurled himself back into the moshing, satisfied crowd.