Let’s just start with one very true statement: Mac DeMarco is a man for and of the people. At Hill Auditorium this Saturday, he walked onto the stage in his classic getup: A red t shirt, stonewashed vintage jeans and, of course, his trademark baseball cap. Watching DeMarco greet the audience was almost like seeing a good friend on the sidewalk after years of separation. There’s just something about the guy that soothes your soul, whether it be his warm friendliness or his smooth, virtually perfect singing voice.
This show was even more intimate than others; he performed sans band, armed only with an acoustic guitar and his goofy wit. “You may ask,” he said to the excited crowd, “Where’s the band?” The audience erupted into laughter, for what would certainly not be the last time during his hour-long set. While other artists may have been lackluster with such a minimal set-up, DeMarco’s inviting personality and huge stage presence made up for it tenfold. It became clear in the first minutes of his performance that the show wasn’t just about the music: It was a conversation between the musician and the audience, so comfortable it felt like the crowd was sitting on his living room couch. “Make yourselves comfortable,” Demarco offered all who sat in the auditorium, “enjoy this, be respectful, love each other.” That said, he continued into a show that could easily be deemed “legendary” by anyone who sat in Hill Saturday night.
DeMarco brought the house down song after song, playing old and new tunes alike, often relying on committed front-row fans to feed him some of his earlier lyrics. It was clear that the audience felt at home, as they crooned out favorites like “Salad Days,” “Let Her Go” and “Ode to Viceroy,” with every lyric obviously loved. DeMarco’s solo guitar accompaniment allowed his crystal-clear voice to shine through, only enhanced by the auditorium’s world-class acoustics. It was almost unbelievable to watch DeMarco stand there alone and knock out every song with impeccable showmanship; every note soared, and the crowd ate it up in amazement and admiration.
DeMarco made jokes about the Jamaican Jerk Pit (“I tell ya, the hot sauce: bellísima”), and Nirvana at the Blind Pig, playing to the Ann Arbor audience with a laugh at every turn. Crowd requests like “My Kind of Woman” and “Let My Baby Stay” echoed warmly through the venue, as hundreds of crowd members sung with him, turning each acoustic song into a fully fleshed out experience. As the show came to a close, DeMarco dedicated the last song to his girlfriend in L.A., and began to sing “Together,” making it easily the most touching tune of the night. The audience supported him in each word, as he began an encore solely based on their “la’s” and organized people closer and closer together. As voices filled the venue, DeMarco did what could only be the best show closer of all time: The man crowdsurfed. As Demarco’s joyful spirit meshed with the youth of his audience, the often classical Hill Auditorium morphed into something different for the night: A place for genuine fun.