In February of 2018 I saw Mac DeMarco perform live at the Mohawk, in Austin, Texas. I had caught two of his shows the previous fall, in Houston and Austin respectively, so this was my 3rd time seeing him perform. At the show in Houston, although I was excited because it was my first time seeing DeMarco in concert, I was somewhat disappointed by his lackluster set, and at the first show in Austin (located at another venue down the street from the Mohawk) I was frustrated by the unexpectedly rowdy crowd. Since my time at the previous DeMarco shows had not been by favorite concert experiences, I was hoping that this one would be different. Because the tickets for this event sold out so quickly, this would be my first time attending a concert solo.
The experience became distinguished from the others soon after I entered the venue. I walked up to the second floor of the building, and to my great surprise I saw DeMarco and the rest of his band hanging out by the bar. I approached the group and had a brief conversation with DeMarco before shamefully asking for a picture. After quickly snapping the shot, I thanked him and headed back down to the first floor where the crowd was steadily building in front of the stage. When I joined the crowd I noticed that the stage had been dressed in a thematic manner, with tablecloths and fake vines, replicating his performance on ACL Live.
Without an opening act, the show began shortly after with a lively performance of the icy track “On The Level,” which has since become the staple DeMarco concert opener. DeMarco and his band continued their high-energy performance, playing all his essential tracks, like “Ode to Viceroy” and “Chamber of Reflection,” and other assorted cuts, such as “My Old Man” and “Dreams from Yesterday,” from of his 2017 release This Old Dog. This tightly performed show went on for about an hour-and-a-half before raucously descending into a wild jam session, consisting of covers of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So” and Radiohead’s “Creep,” as well as crowd-surfing from multiple band members. The concert wrapped up with the recurring performance of DeMarco’s intimate love song, “Still Together.” The venue was packed and the crowd was appropriately enthusiastic, causing for a typical but thoroughly enjoyable DeMarco show.
I caught another DeMarco concert recently, again in Austin, while he was touring for his latest album Here Comes the Cowboy. Despite the excellent set-list and breezy outdoor venue, I still (and perhaps always will) believe his Mohawk show to be his best performance to date.