Hangout Fest was my first time seeing Mac DeMarco perform after being a fan for a few years now, and he did not disappoint. He started off the show with “Salad Days,” the title track off his 2014 album and instantly had the crowd of beach-goers entranced. Seeing him live was even better than the recording-his voice is just as smooth but the guitar and full band live was unreal, with long streams of jamming and slight alterations to some songs. His stage presence was just as goofy and fun as one would imagine, with the perfect amount of conversing with the crowd, his bandmates, and of course playing music. Some notable moments included his performance of “Ode to Viceroy” which included an almost psychedelic jam session-in which DeMarco’s other guitarist lit a Viceroy in Mac’s mouth while he was still playing.
DeMarco finished out the set with “Still Together” from the album 2, which he dedicated to his longtime girlfriend Kiera. But as if that special moment wasn’t enough, mid-song the band kept playing and DeMarco looked to the crowd and decided to stage dive. Not surprisingly the crowd went wild and passed DeMarco around for a few minutes before he returned to the stage, only to completely rip his shirt off-WWE style.
My personal favorites from the set were “Freaking out the Neighborhood” from 2 and “For the First Time” from his newest album This Old Dog which was just released in early May. Both songs had been personal favorites of mine prior to the festival, and seeing him perform them live solidified everything I thought about them and more. From the cool guitar runs in “Freaking out the Neighborhood” to the personal lyrics in “For the First Time,” DeMarco’s vocal chops as well as his stage presence is undeniably great. Also in DeMarco’s performance of “For the First Time” he got the crowd clapping which added some fun additional percussion as well as incorporated his own ~unique~ dance moves.
As if this amazing performance wasn’t enough to fuel my excitement until September (where I’ll have the pleasure of seeing Mac live again on his This Old Dog World Wide Tour), after the concert I ran into him in the media tent. We talked briefly about his show and took a selfie, all while he and his band were on their way to watch Weezer with the rest of the crowd. He couldn’t have been nicer and once again proved that he’s just that cool, laid-back, goofy guy who just happens to be wickedly talented on guitar.