Last Week Live: Mac DeMarco at Crystal Ballroom, 4/22

The Portland contingent of Mac “And Cheese” DeMarco’s teen legion filled the Crystal Ballroom on a school night, which is not remarkable, because who needs a good night’s sleep when your only morning obligation is being a surly asshole? That so many kids arrived wearing the same brand of cheap, flat-brimmed cap that Mac “The Knife” DeMarco dons in press photos is a mite disturbing, though: Is there no realm too unholy, no hat choice too questionable for a young person in thrall to a Canadian-born singer-songwriter’s chill mythos? 

Don't answer that. We're in the world Mac "And Me" DeMarco built, where questions are merely preludes to two thumbs-up. The great thing about a loyal and jazzed faction of young fans, however, is that its possibly misguided enthusiasm for Canadian-born fashion icons escalates into boundless fervor after the sun sets, which means Portland's reunited (for one night only?) Meth Teeth played its first show in something like five years for hundreds of game people who probably would have been content to stare at a roadie staring at a fog machine for their Mac "Daddy of Kriss Kross Fame" DeMarco appetizer.

Meth Teeth could have brought the house down by semaphoring for 30 minutes, but as that would have cut into fellow opener Dinner's shtick, the band decided to play music. Although the trio seemed a bit tentative—understandable given their long hiatus—its gloomy, brooding garage rock gave the more cynical among us something to cling to, if in memory only, during the two hours that followed.

The less said about Dinner the better, but know this: People who have not yet been to college will flip their shit for a Danish man who dances to backing tracks for 20 minutes. These Mac "auley Culkin" DeMarco fans are going to love art school before they decide art is stupid and graciously accept their lot as our planet's rulers. And the world might not need a version of the Faint that is just one guy you want to toss into a bottomless elevator shaft instead of five guys you want to toss into a bottomless elevator shaft, but since when does the world get what it needs? The world gets Dinner. Eat it, world.

Following a brief intermission abuzz with anticipation—"Will he wear the hat? The hat that I am also wearing? The hat that defines me not only as a certain sort of music fan but as a very specific kind of dude who really needs to mellow out before I am old enough to own two Subarus?"—Mac "klemore" DeMarco takes the stage and HE IS NOT WEARING THE FUCKING HAT. Holy shit. Mac "The Marco" DeMarco's young followers, betrayed by their gap-toothed God, furiously remove their noggin raiments and toss them into the air as if they have just graduated from the most chill high school of all time, and their Boat Dad lord transforms into a gap-toothed column of smoke.

Actually, everyone is still very excited, and Mac “Before John McVie Met Mick Fleetwood” DeMarco, backed by an able band of young goofs, gives the kids what they came for: souped-up takes on the laid-back stoner pop that is Mac “I Am Out Of Mac Puns” DeMarco’s stock-in-trade. DeMarco is a charismatic performer, and while his no-shits-given persona is not only palatable but endearing in a live setting, this louder and rowdier version of The Mac Experience lacks the subtle sadness of DeMarco’s records, on which the Hatted One sounds like a man who has just realized that being on vacation all the time can be a bummer. Without that wistful tenderness, the DeMarco catalog plays like a cruise-ship party mix meant to maximize “fun” for sunburnt stockbrokers of the future smoking cigars wrapped in the currency of whatever country they have decided to ruin. Which is OK, because my mind ditched its meat container when DeMarco launched into a cover of Steely Dan’s “Reelin’ in the Years,” and I’m not sure it’s ever coming back.  

All photos by ronitphoto.com.