After seven years of non-stop touring Mac DeMarco needs to take some well-deserved rest before his live show extravaganza implodes
At 28 years of age the gap-toothed, Viceroy-smoking indie kingpin Mac DeMarco has announced his eighth consecutive year of touring. When it comes to the Mac DeMarco live experience, there is famously no shortage of personality or fun. He prances around stage in his underwear, jumps off sound systems and plays the most bizarre arrangement of covers, from Metallica to Steely Dan and The Darkness. It’s a wonderful thing to behold, an exhibition of a man entirely unafraid to be himself.
However, after 200 shows in the past two years with no significant rest breaks you get the feeling Mac might be pushing himself way too hard. Touring isn’t easy on anyone, not least a man who puts such a freakish amount of energy into every performance. Over the course of last autumn the cracks were visibly beginning to show. At Tropicalia festival in Long Beach DeMarco appeared on stage without his band. However, rather than explain the absence of his band or apologise to the audience, DeMarco proceeded to perform karaoke over backing tracks played off his MacBook. As part of some vague attempt to lighten the mood DeMarco dressed himself in a giant chicken costume, but the fans’ disappointment was clear.
After the Tropicalia debacle, many hoped Mac would vanish for a while to relax and recuperate, for the sake of his health, as well as his touring career. However, the man seems to have no such plans as he yesterday announced a whole string of some thirty American tour dates. When greeted with the announcement several commenters simply stated ‘well, that’s where the money is’. While it is true that most artists make the majority of their revenue from the live experience, you have to question whether Mac derives the same amount of pleasure from touring that he did six years ago.
Even during his time off the road, DeMarco experienced pressure from his label Captured Tracks to press on and make the next record. Thankfully, with the release of 2017’s ‘This Old Dog’ DeMarco was finally free of his contract. Indeed, DeMarco’s fourth album, slated for a 2019 release, will be the first on his own record label, appropriately titled ‘Mac’s Record Label’. While DeMarco can now positively create music on his own terms, he still needs time before he goes rushing into his next release. ‘This Old Dog’ may have featured a great deal of variety in comparison with its predecessors, but with patience DeMarco can surely craft a more distinct chapter in his musical career.
At the end of the day, a lot of people love Mac DeMarco and want him to succeed. Even those who don’t see the appeal of his music can recognise one of the biggest, most loveable personalities in indie music. After this 2019 tour and accompanying album, Mac needs to accept his fans will wait and give himself a break. Because everyone’s only human… even this absolute madman.