Music Critic Elsie Brown reviews Mac Demarco’s gig at the O2 Academy Birmingham

Images by Coley Brown

Entering the O2 Academy, the room was awash with people buzzing to see the eccentric Mac Demarco. With a reputation for being unpredictable and occasionally outrageous onstage, you could tell everyone was wondering what stunt he might pull at this show. 

Following support sets by Hoopla Blue and Los Bitchos, Mac Demarco demanded the attention of the audience with his song ‘On the Level’ from his third album This Old Dog. This was followed by the brilliant ‘Salad Days’ and the response from the audience was deafening. Collectively screaming the lyrics, mosh pits erupted in pockets throughout the crowd. 

This concert felt like the epitome of Mac Demarco

My friend and I were completely swept up in it all and somehow ended up three people from the front. From here, I could fully appreciate the genius that is Mac Demarco. His vocals and guitar solos were exceptional, despite downing at least four pints onstage throughout the concert. 

After receiving substantial criticism for his album released earlier this year, Here Comes the Cowboy, it was unsurprising that he only chose to perform two songs from this collection: ‘Nobody’ and ‘Choo Choo’. Regardless of reviews, both songs were well received and thoroughly enjoyed. 

This concert felt like the epitome of Mac Demarco. After the performance of his classic hits, like ‘My Kind of Woman’ and ‘Chamber of Reflection’, DeMarco played tribute to Birmingham-originated band, Black Sabbath, with a cover of ‘Paranoid’. 

Afterwards, DeMarco invited a group of drunk girls to help perform a fun cover of ‘Tequila’ by The Champs. DeMarco and his band seemed to be hosting a party onstage, echoed by a chorus of “tequila” screamed from the audience. This was a truly entertaining way to involve the audience and ensure everyone had a great time.  

DeMarco is a man who plays for the audience. After already performing an encore of ‘Enter Sandman’ by Metallica, the audience demanded “one more song” to which he complied and performed ‘Blue Boy’. This reaction from the audience at the end of the show speaks for itself; DeMarco’s concerts feel like a party you never want to end. 

Mac DeMarco’s concert certainly lived up to the wild, unconventional performance expectations but also beautifully exhibited his talent as a musician.