Photographs by Matt Forsythe
Montreal’s Mac DeMarco recent tour stop in Toronto was a study in contrasts with openers Tonstartsshandht psych-rock providing an at times jarring counterpoint to DeMarco’s laidback, jangly indie rock.
Tonstartsshandht frontman Andy White kept up a good energy level throughout that unfortunately failed to translate to the audience who seemed content to simply mill about. The band made several tonal shifts, playing songs that had a definite heavy feel and even an accessible number towards the end of their set.
DeMarco took to the stage and promised to play music from his new album This Old Dog as well as “old stuff” before leading the audience in a sing-along of ‘Salad Days’, the title track from his last outing. He then led the sizable crowd in a clap-along for ‘For the First Time’ from the new album.
Nearly all the songs produced a big cheer from the people in attendance and DeMarco delivered frequent monologues throughout the set. ‘A Wolf Who Wears Sheep’s Clothing’ melded psych-rock with the garage rock that he’s known for to great effect.
One song even featured a keyboard solo. He showcased a new song that had a retro synth-pop feel. When someone in the audience announced that it was their birthday, he paused the set to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ and dedicated the next song to them. DeMarco doubtlessly endeared himself to the Toronto crowd when he gave a shout-out to Kensington Market and the CN Tower.
As the evening came to a close, he guestimated that he had time for two more songs, going back to his 2012 album 2 for ‘Still Together’. He asked everyone to imagine and air horn and confetti for the final songs. The audience seemed to loosen up as the set progressed and several people could be spotted body surfing, including DeMarco just before they returned to the stage for the fitting one song encore; the last song on This Old Dog ‘Watching Him Fade Away’.