One of, if not the best reel-in from US indie label Captured Tracks is the enigmatic jovial prankster of Montreal, Mac DeMarco. Hitching a ride on the back of the hallowed Meredith Music Festival wagon, the 23-year-old and his jangle trio made their Down Under debut to an exuberant Melbourne audience.

Moments after 9pm struck, the red velvet curtains of the Corner’s intimate stage were ripped apart to an eruption of applause as the DeMarco-led quartet were unveiled, goofy gap-toothed grins and all.

A casual DeMarco husk greeted the resounding cheer with a “what’s up, my name’s Mac, this is Pierce, Pete and Joe” before splashing into the surfy riff ‘Cooking Up Something Good’, the opening track of the album 2. DeMarco’s vocal range was instantly revealed, the youngster’s cigarette drenched drawl enchanting in a far deeper growl compared to his recorded creep-up falsetto, crooning, “ohh when life moves this slowly/ohh just try to let it go”.

The quartet shifted the observer’s gaze upward to the twinkling ‘The Stars Keep On Calling My Name’. The frontman had no qualms in stepping back, seeking refuge from the limelight as lead guitarist Pete Sagar burned brightest, tearing through the track with an all-out jangle-pop face-melter to the mass of adoring fans.

The Richmond venue then well and truly alight, the title track of DeMarco’s first Captured Tracks record Rock And Roll Nightclub was announced. The jizz-jazz maestro’s boisterous energy spread like wildfire to the punters as they bounced in union to the poppy jam. The track in particular showcased DeMarco’s vocal breadth as he descended into his rich baritone, adding a suave element to the slack rocker’s onstage demeanour. In the dying seconds of the song, DeMarco dramatically fell to his knees as equally charismatic bassist Pierce McGarry screamed the closing “rock and roll nightclub!”

“The next song is about smoking cigarettes.” One could barely hear the opening wavering whammy bar as the electrified crowd cheered in gratification for what was the unmistakeable Ode To Viceroy. Once again DeMarco opted for a more brooding delivery, avoiding his recorded soaring falsetto. As he crooned with the chorusing crowd “oh don’t let me see her crying/cause oh honey I’ll smoke you till I’m dying”, DeMarco stunned with an incredible vocal run that further proved what capabilities really lie beneath the exterior of this denim-clad Canadian clown.

The 45-minute set was without an omission of hit or fan-favourite as DeMarco took the crowd through his dreamy portal, including ‘I’m A Man’, ‘Baby’s Wearing Blue Jeans’, ‘Annie’, and ‘She’s All I Really Need’, the showman assuring that neither record of 2012 was harshly rejected from the setlist.

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As the band’s set drew nearer to its untimely close, the quartet removed their signature glaze of starry-eyed jangle haze and doused their set in an almost flawless melody comprising of classic tracks ‘Message In A Bottle’, ‘Break Stuff’, ‘Takin’ Care of Business’, ‘Schism’, and a double injection of Aussie Pride – ‘Back in Black’ and ‘Thundestruck’.

Behind his cosmetic exterior of a ‘big kid’ who just happens to be great at making music, DeMarco emphatically championed his diamond in the rough, closing the night with the sugary sentiment of ‘Still Together’.  Dropping his guitar, wielding just a mic in his hand, DeMarco bared all in his stripped-back confessional to his beloved “KiKi”. Finally unleashing his dynamite falsetto, DeMarco convinced every last standing patron just how fucking talented he is.

Despite the closing song dripping in sweetness, DeMarco plunged into the crowd and made his way almost to the back bar of the Corner as a sea of hands and screams reached each part of his body.  Surfing his way back to the stage, DeMarco thanked the audience to which the gratitude was fiercely reciprocated.

Not even that notorious shitty pylon in the dead centre of the Corner Hotel could get a ticketholder down. DeMarco truly exemplified why he’s performing sell-out sets across the globe.

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