Austin, Texas — In the middle of a psychedelic freakout near the end of Mac DeMarco‘s first set at SXSW 2013 on Wednesday, the Montreal rocker did two things: 1) He somehow dipped into a garage rock jam of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five,” that whipped into a half-joking “Takin’ Care of Business” and into the solo of “Gimmie Shelter” and 2) he showed that after this week is over he’s going to either burn himself out or become the next SXSW buzz band.
This stream-of-conscious, bebop-like garage rock has the feel, and — with DeMarco’s ’90s Seattle style — the look of an early Quentin Tarantino movie. There’s a music nerd somewhere under DeMarco’s slightly-insane Jim Morrisson persona. With a bit of loving-humor he mashes together quotes and allusions to a Wikipedia-sized database of music’s greats in quick bursts. These aren’t extended jam sessions with self-serving solos, they the product of a band operating behind a mind always one step ahead of the beat.
Early in the day on Wednesday at an underground venue on 6th Street, he and the band were all jokes — poking fun at bros, mocking the predominately orange lighting and singing a verse of “Blackbird” in a goofy, though not bad, falsetto. If Mac DeMarco is trying to become the next SXSW buzz band, he and the band certainly didn’t act like they cared. Then later Wednesday night, the band made an impromptu appearance in between Wavves and Unknown Mortal Orchestra at Scoot Inn in front of a crowd 10 times the size and was all business. The light-hearted air was still in the set, but DeMarco — whose insanity seemed fed by the crowd — and the band had the air of professional performers who may be able to stick in this for the long haul.
Catch more Mac DeMarco shows this week:
Friday, March 15
Hotel Vegas Patio
Friday, March 15
7:30PM – 8:00PM
Saturday, March 16
Reverb Managing Editor Matt Miller has a Twitter account that he uses fairly often, but not often enough to be annoying.