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Mac DeMarco Cooks Up Something Good At Empty Bottle

By Jessica Mlinaric in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 4, 2014 3:30PM

You probably received a Snapchat from Mac DeMarco’s pair of sold out Empty Bottle shows Wednesday night. It was a sea of phone screens, smoke and spit swapping from where I stood at the early performance, quite fitting for the Canadian crooner’s brand of sleaze rock. A nearby attendee asked me, “Do you mind switching places with me so I can make out with that guy?” “Go for it,” I obliged.

Mac went for it too, despite technical setbacks in the hour long set including a few broken strings, a busted keyboard and reverb he had to pull back quickly to combat. Bassist Pierce McGarry regaled the crowd during downtime with an impromptu Q&A session addressing, “What’s it like to be on YouTube?” and “What happened to that missing airplane?”

While Mac’s latest release, Salad Days, had only dropped earlier that day, the crowd had no trouble fervently singing along to the set which included most of the new tracks. Jangly newcomers like “Blue Boy” and “Let Her Go” melded well alongside crowd favorites “Freaking Out the Neighborhood” and “Ode to Viceroy.” DeMarco played brooding lounge singer delivering “Chamber of Reflection” and closing with a caterwauling “Still Together.”

Many of the technical issues were worked out by Mac’s second show of the evening, according to late night attendees, giving him the freedom to crowd surf throughout the venue. Mac commanded the packed crowd to take a knee claiming, “We tried this in Cleveland and it worked, but Chicago is way cooler, right?” Met with some hesitation he howled, “Get the fuck down! I see you in the back standing. Take a fucking knee!”

Don’t be fooled, Mac is serious—about having fun. Working through gear issues, the band was not going to let the crowd leave without a party, thanking the audience multiple times. Mac’s goofball charm and breezy slacker guitar pop antics entice you to hang with him through whatever. Who better to make out and bake out to on a school night?