A long line of devotees spill out of the Leeds Irish Centre doors, small groups of smokers gather around the car park, hoping to casually bump into that guy in the hat that everyone is talking about. The calm atmosphere quickly changes inside when Mac Demarco walks on to the stage, however; “If it’s your first time, then welcome to the club.” A spew of cheers and wolf whistles circle the crowd who have quite literally jammed themselves into a room more suited to a school disco. Equipped with disco ball and sunbeam shape lightening, Mac Demarco and his band look giant on the small stage. He invites the reactive crowd to party along with him as he opens with ‘Salad Days’, ‘Blue Boy’ and ‘Cooking up Something Good’.
The gig seems to stop between each song as the night progresses. The short silences are quickly used for on-stage jokes; crowd chants and at even one point a plea for world peace.
The crowd who look more like fish in a fishing net jump and grove to the funk-like metallic riffs of ‘I’m a Man’. It is refreshing to see any band that have the confidence to redo a track which doesn’t go to plan first time round. ‘Picking up the Pieces’ starts off wobbly and is calmly started again. Maybe Mac Demarco isn’t the most conventional when performing but no one can deny that he isn’t entertaining, at one point he changes pace and covers Bob Marley’s ‘Jammin’, not the most obvious choice, Demarco fills the instrumentals with lyrics such as “smoke up a fat one” and “this one’s for Jah”. As the gig continues it is obvious that this crowd aren’t here just to hear a few songs, they are here for Demarco’s nonchalant on-stage attitude that makes it feel like you are watching your best mate’s band down the pub.
Most of the audience feel the same as some climb over the front row and clamber onstage. They stand there awkwardly; take a few photos, laugh with their buddy’s which repeatedly results in them stopping the performance altogether. Harmless fun for them, irritating for everyone else who meet their chaotic behaviour with a dull tone of boos. Demarco and his band do well at lightening the mood with a few jokes and distractions.
Coming to the end of the gig, Demarco politely crows for the audience to crouch on the floor. Swishing his hand like a conductor the crowd take note and begin to harmoniously sing the lyrics “together” like a tone-deaf Catholic school choir. Gloriously this continues for a little longer than necessary before the band kicks in, bringing the crowd to their feet as they dance their way back to the bar to pitch up camp for the rest of the night.