Mac DeMarco - Albert Hall, Manchester, 12th September 2015 3

Mac DeMarco – Albert Hall, Manchester, 12th September 2015

Mac_Demarco-134A sea of excited teenagers clad in vintage apparel invading the shabby chic grandeur of Manchester’s Albert Hall signalled the arrival of Beacons Metro to the North West. And what a debut!

In what was a beautifully dulcet warm up to the main act, The Big Moon seemed to perfectly fill the hall’s stained glass interior, rocking the crowd into a sad lullaby. The girls have recently released their latest single ‘Sucker’, a piece accompanied by a psychedelic video taking the London scene by storm. With thrashing guitars and a relentless backing bass redolent of classic Pixies tunes, the crowd seemed instantly won over by this charming gang.

The moody tunes of The Big Moon were followed by a more seasoned performer, floppy-haired Kevin Morby with his backing band. Having released his second album Still Life last year, this L.A based musician warbled in a slightly indecipherable Velvet Underground manner to an impatient crowd. Whilst it seemed each song had real potential to be an excellent driving track on a long winding road trip, some of the sound and clarity of the vocals in particular were lost in translation on the night. Surmounting to what was a rather dry performance, Kevin Morby just didn’t quite have that essential live pizazz. Then again, his presence on the bill could have been a cunning ploy to attempt to pacify the madness that was about to hit Albert Hall.

Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco landed like an extra-terrestrial on the streets of Manchester. As the clock struck half nine he and his gang of droogs sidled on to the stage and immediately cut some bizarre shapes. With a range of interesting outfits looking like a cross between characters in School Of Rock and the inhabitants of a padded cell (a fleece onesie being the main offender), it was apparent from the off that this was not going to be your average performance.

Applauded for his experimental combination of genres and influences, it is, however, DeMarco’s ability to ensue chaos that definitely leaves the biggest impression. Exemplified by the guitarist’s dedication of a song to Man United, at times it was hard to decipher whether the group were being ironic or just really didn’t have a clue where they were.

As instrumental wig outs transpired, it was difficult not to feel perturbed by the on stage gyrations of the semi-naked keyboard player as adoring teenagers screamed, several hurling their bras on stage! There was a lot of footwear flying about too, knocking bouncers on the head and generally leaving a lot of moshers semi-clad.

The audience spanned the decades in both attire and age. It was an unusual mix of small groups of devoted middle aged fans amidst troupes of trendy, Lego-haired adolescents. No matter what your age, this was a gig to come to with your friends and get messy at. And the yodelling vocals infused with comical rap, certainly lent themselves well to the happenings.

Mac DeMarco

Whilst DeMarco’s attempted decking of teenagers seemed anarchic, it was somewhat less than impressive than the bluesy guitar melodies that played accolades through the genres, permeating your subconscious whether you liked it or not.

Chatting to fans it seemed that most of the audience viewed DeMarco simply as “a nutter”, whose on-stage persona never disappointed in terms of the unexpected. Certainly a rubber masked-Michael Jackson appearing at one point, fit that bill. When asked what they thought of the music, however the answer was more of an apathetic “it’s alright, yeah”. Puzzling.

Bang on schedule at a few minutes to eleven, the self-proclaimed ‘jizz-jazz’ style came to its sticky conclusion, leaving a steaming Albert Hall bathed in sweaty residue. It was hard to interpret what had just happened. Definitely one of the messiest gigs the Albert Hall has surely seen in recent years, Beacons Metro opening night had certainly made an impact. Whether that was more to do with the music itself or just the unrelenting frenetic weirdness, remains to be seen.

Over a 12 week period starting on 2nd October, Beacons Metro take over a host of venues in Leeds, including Headrow House, Belgrave Music Hall, Canal Mills and Wharf Chambers. Click HERE for more information.

Photo credit: Steven Sibbald

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.