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Concert Review: Mac DeMarco & Tonstartssbandht @ Metropolis

On May 10th and 11th, Mac DeMarco returned to his old Montreal stomping grounds for two sold-out shows at Metropolis. Less than a week before the shows DeMarco released a new LP titled This Old Dog, yet the May 10th set balanced tracks from DeMarco’s previous albums with his new material fairly evenly. Despite DeMarco’s soft, lo-fi sound and relaxed style, his live performances tend to be quite high-energy. The first of his two Montreal dates was no exception: the concert was fun, exciting, and entertaining enough to live up to the hype.

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Fellow Montreal expats Tonstartssbandht opened for both Metropolis shows. The band is made up of brothers Edwin and Andy White, who also plays in DeMarco’s touring band. Tonstartssbandht played a show in Montreal a couple months ago for their latest album Sorceror, which I also had the pleasure of attending. The February concert was at Bar le Ritz PDB and although Metropolis is much larger, Tonstartssbandht had no trouble filling the whole venue with their dreamy, experimental rock aesthetic. Their set featured energetic percussion and pleasantly slow, psychedelic melodies that harmonized to deliver a chill, groove-driven performance.

When DeMarco took the stage, I felt like I was witnessing the presence of a phenomenon. After all I’d heard and seen of DeMarco’s aesthetic and behavior, including the trends he’s inspired, it was hard to remember that he is, first and foremost, a musician. However, once he launched into “Salad Days,” the title track from his second LP, I immediately recalled the appeal of DeMarco’s sunny melodies and warm vocals. While it was hard at the concert not to think of the countless people I’ve met who remind me of DeMarco, his friendly hipster shtick appears original and authentic when performed by the man himself. Tracks from This Old Dog, like “Moonlight on the River,” “For the First Time,” and “One More Love Song” featured stronger acoustic leanings and a hazy, romantic pop sound. These tracks complimented DeMarco’s popular upbeat songs like “Cooking Up Something Good,” “Freaking Out the Neighborhood,” and “The Stars Keep on Calling my Name,” all of which initiated wild dancing and moshing from the crowd.

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Many fans climbed up on stage during the concert with the intention of giving DeMarco a high-five, taking a selfie, or jumping into the crowd to surf; however, despite these interjections the band seemed set on giving Montreal a true performance. By the end of the show, DeMarco had started refusing high-fives, swatting away cameras, and even pushing fans onstage back into the crowd. As an audience member sitting in the balcony section, I greatly appreciated this dedication to performing, even if it did seem to contradict DeMarco’s lazy style. My personal favorite quote of the evening came from Andy White during DeMarco’s set, who told everyone, “Put your phones away kids; enjoy the show.” It was a valuable reminder for such a raucous, enjoyable night.

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– Review and photos by Celia Robinovitch

Concert Review: Homeshake at La Vitrola 02/07

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By: Olivia Maccioni

On Saturday February 7th, Monomyth, Brazilian Money, and Homeshake took the stage at La Vitrola. Although I was only able to make the end of the show, getting in just before Homeshake began, the room was already beginning to quiet down and the crowd dispersing, some even heading out. It felt like a quickly deserting space, creating a strange ambiance of confused post-show concert goers. Nonetheless, Peter Sagar, former guitarist for Mac DeMarco and the man behind Homeshake, unassumingly walked on stage around 12:30 with no addressing of the crowd, setting up a small table at the very edge of the stage filled with a handful of pedals, a sampler, and two dimly lit, bronze radiating light bulbs. I could hear mumbling in the crowd, let alone my own conversations, confused, expecting a full band set-up playing the newest hits of Homeshake. His first full album The Homeshake Tape was released in 2013 and his newest album, In the Shower this past August [2014]. Both albums create the feel of lazy, late mornings eating a greasy homemade breakfasts. In these albums, slow percussion and part surfer-rock, part jazz/r&b guitar riffs over smooth lyrics and samples of fuzzy voice recordings bring you straight into Sagar’s living room. However, the show took this intimate sound even further, taking parts of Homeshake’s usual sound—jazzy, sway-worthy guitar and synthy whispered lyrics—into a one-man performance with Sagar shadowed by the two bulbs. It was an atmosphere similar to that of a James Blake show—a quiet, dim, large unassuming silenced room layered with each individual sound; voice, guitar, drumbeat. Coming through the air, the new sound married simple, funky ambient feels to the likes of Toro Y Moi to the sort of soul revival vocals of D’Angelo. However, Sagar still kept to his roots; this performance easily reminiscent of classic Homeshake sounds of quick intersperses of strange voice recordings and jazzy guitar riffs, bringing out the same warm, liquid vibes of actually being in a shower like on his latest album — In the Shower. Yet, at the same time, he also created a sound that I personally think is quite fresh and unique; blending many popular genres in music today by intersecting one-man, slow and steamy chillwave DJ sets with the dancy guitar of classic indie rock and the vocals of synthesized, slacker rock. The show was quick, lasting about 30 minutes. However, at the end of the show, I was lucky enough to be able to chat with and congratulate Peter Sagar (Homeshake), on this new sound, and to those of you who missed it or, like me, are searching the depths of the interwebs to find any remnants of these new feels, no worries, Sagar assured me that this was part of his new album to be expected in June.

Concert Review: Mac DeMarco at Rialto Theatre 05/11

On Wednesday November 5, 2014, Mac DeMarco performed with his opening act Connan Mockasin at the Theatre Rialto. Connan Mockasin came out in a funky straw hat and captured the audience with his relaxed “dream pop” sound. “I Wanna Roll With You” got everybody singing along with their hands up, swaying to the calm tunes, however that did not stop the first of the many crowd surfers! From the first crowd surfer forward, the concert just got crazier.

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Fans of Mac DeMarco expected a show that was lewd and wacky and they got just that. Although it was no repeat of the drumstick incident, Mac DeMarco definitely put on one the craziest live shows I’ve ever been to. Mac came out on stage wearing his “Viceroy” hat and of course, overalls. He begins the set with his hit, “Salad Days,” and immediately the crowd starts moshing. (I was surprised, even Mac looked surprised). People were jumping, punching, and screaming out the lyrics. It was one of the rowdiest mosh pits ever. If you didn’t have your hair tied up and your shoes tied tight, you would probably have left the concert bald and with no shoes. At one point, at least 50 people just fell down in the middle of the floor and dog piled on top of each other. It was definitely a human domino effect. I felt really bad for those that got stuck at the bottom. Nonetheless, it was a good time.

Somewhere between “Passing out Pieces” and “My Kind of Woman” fans started jumping up on stage. Girls were kissing him on the cheek and playing air guitar next to him. Everyone was taking selfies and some people took off their shirt. This started some kind of chain reaction, and soon enough, half of the audience was on stage, singing and dancing with Mac. The security managed to get most people off stage, but some people insisted on sitting and watching the show comfortably backstage. The security resisted, but Mac DeMarco said, “Come on, just let them stay, they aren’t bothering anyone,” so the security reluctantly dismissed.

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One guy jumped on stage with an acoustic guitar (he brought that to the concert?), and stole the mic from Mac and started to sing his own song. The poor security had enough of dealing with people jumping on stage, and in a fury, they grabbed the guy by his legs and dragged him offstage with no mercy. The guy tried to pick up his bag that he had left on stage, but the security guards refused to let him pick up his stuff.

At the middle of the concert, they did a cover of Bob Marley’s “Jammin’” and “One Love.” The lights dimmed green (obviously), and people had their lighters out in hand.

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Near the end of the concert, Mac leaped into the audience, crowd surfed throughout the entire room, and ended back up on stage. Everyone was going crazy, trying to get a good picture, I could barely see him crowd surfing. I got a picture, but not a very good one!

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Lucky Mac got some free gifts from his audience that day. One fan threw him a nice hat and another one gave him a gold chain. He put on the chain and took off his Viceroy hat to put on his new hat. Everyone reached out their hands, thinking Mac would throw the Viceroy hat out. He thought about it, but instead, threw the hat to his drummer.

Mac DeMarco ended the night with “Chamber of Reflections” and “Still Together,” quickly thanked his audience and left the stage. However, the inevitable “one more song” chant from the audience and subsequent foot stomping quickly brought the band back on stage. Mac’s encore song was “Top Gun Theme” by Steve Stevens and he was in no rush. Mac commanded the stage with the catchy riff played on repeat. He played it with variations, altering the speed dramatically from slow and calm to incredibly fast. The crowd followed his lead, swaying to the slow and moshing to the fast guitar riffs. It was a great way to end off the night. Mac DeMarco proved himself to be not just a musician, but also a captivating performer.

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After the show, the bartenders of Theatre Rialto kindly provided concertgoers with free glasses of water (they could probably tell it was very necessary!). Overall, it was a night of sweat, bruises, and craziness, but it was also one of the most memorable concerts ever. Mac DeMarco was so much fun, and I would definitely see him again!

things we said on new shit 3/18

Sad news today with the loss of Secretly Canadian’s Jason Molina. We had a heavy first hour with tunes from the likes of Ken Mode and then tried our shot at the sun with bossa nova from Vinicius Cantuária. Lots of shows to look out for this week and be sure to tune in next week from 3-5pm. Or check out our archives.

Shows This Week

Mardi Spaghetti Marathon @ Caigibi 3/19
Ponctuation album launch @ Divan Orange 3/20
Nick Cave @ Metropolis 3/22
Leif Vollebekk @ Cabaret Du Mile End 3/23
Mac DeMarco @ Sala Rossa 3/24

New Shit Playlist 3/18
band/song/album

Suuns – Minor Work – Images du Futur
Shugo Tokumaru – Katachi – In Focus?
Pere Ubu – Feuksley Ma’am, The Hearing
Foot Village – This Song is a Drug Deal – Make Memories
Pat Jordache – Hunger – Hunger
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