Mac Demarco @ Trunk Space| Tuesday, September 18
Seeing totally disparate genre blends in one night is cool, but it's always nice to see a bill that is fully united under one auspice. I'm going to give last night's Mac Demarco show an easy filing: The Joy of the Floor Tom. Or, maybe: Precis on Reverb.
Every band also had some parenthetical mention of previous work next to their name. Numbats, which consisted of two-thirds of sugary post-punks North Dakota, used the occasional outlaw country riff and shuffled backbeat to reach angsty-surf ends. Donny and the Dorks, featuring former members of The Young Friends, kept their guitar tones quick, bright and shimmery while hinting at darker lyrical modes, like The Cure on the beach.
Tempe's Chandails, who have so many local affiliations it's going to require sub-brackets, kept it the tightest of the locals with their austere style of jangled angularity. Strummed-up post-punk with, yep, lots of that succulent floor tom momentum. They also did a Polvo cover, which ruled.
Mac Demarco (who used to call himself/his music Makeout Videotape) distinguished himself from other sharp garage rock songwriting weirdos mostly by smiling a lot. He and his three band mates, who wore the kind of thrift store scores only a punk could love, took his slinky, vaguely-sexy guitar pop gems to the cleaners. Does that make sense?
The standouts were shimmery cut "Baby's Wearing Blue Jeans" and Demarco's preening finale "Together," with Demarco muting his gnarled guitar and giving a buck-toothed grin after every number.
The guys really just did everything to ensure a neat time among strangers. The bass guitar looked sun-faded, maybe three shades too dark, and the drummer was so tall that his spindly legs poked up from behind his tiny drumset. Many guitar and bass solos were taken while the player was on their knees. Demarco, asking for a little more vocal volume, told the sound guy, "I'm gonna go for it like a jackass crooner."
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I'm pretty sure there's not an easier, nor more effective formula than turning the reverb up to 11 and the charm up to 12.
Critic's Notebook: Last night: Mac Demarco at Trunk Space Other Canadian stuff that's pretty cool: Kids in the Hall, the word "hosers," the letter "zed."