Review: Mac DeMarco at Webster Hall 7.19.23

July 26, 2023

By Madaleine Cutone

Photo by Madaleine Cutone

If there is one thing that is true in this life, it’s that the people love Mac DeMarco— myself included. He’s everyone and their mother’s favorite indie rock weirdo in music, and I feel certain that he’d take that as a compliment. It seems as though he’s constantly asking himself, how weird can I take this? He furthered that narrative this year when he dropped Five Easy Hot Dogs, an LP made up of strictly instrumental, psychedelic, low-fi tracks. Mac recently took the show on the road, and wrapped up a sold out, three night stint at New York City’s Webster Hall this past week.

Five Easy Hot Dogs is not your run of the mill instrumental body of work. For this album, Mac essentially took to the road and informed his friends and loved ones that he wouldn’t be coming home until he had an album. He spent nights in creepy cabins, gallivanted across new cities with fans-turned-friends, and even quit nicotine along the way. As you can imagine, this myriad of experiences all lumped together would make an interesting new album. Thus, Five Easy Hot Dogs was born.

Now— let me just say what we’re all thinking and get it out of the way. An instrumental, low-fi concert? You’re probably already imagining yourself dozing off on a friend’s shoulder being swallowed into the cozy crowd, right? Wrong, ever-so wrong.

In my entirely unprofessional opinion, it can be remarkably difficult to hold the attention of a large crowd when you’re packed in a low-lit, womb-like temperature venue without the sound of someone’s voice telling your eyes where to go. However, Mac pulled it off with effortless grace, and despite playing a two hour set where vocals didn’t come in until halfway through, no one was sprinting towards the door when the show eventually did come to a close. Five Easy Hot Dogs is one of the most enjoyable albums of its kind for me, and has been a key part of my nighttime routine ever since this show. His ability to engage with the crowd throughout the set was akin to an intimate discourse with close friends, which is one of the many, many reasons that Mac will always be adored by the public, no matter what new directions his music takes.

Mac Demarco onstage singing and playing guitar at Webster Hall. He is wearing all white despite a green vest and dark hat, and he is looking upwards. The back of fans' heads in the front row are in the lower third of the photo.

After running through Five Easy Hot Dogs in its entirety, Mac began to work in some vocal songs from the comfort of his swivel stool (which he boldly ventured to stand on while singing in between his guitar jams– the man has some real balance skills, let me tell you). Left and right, my fellow audience members were crying, laughing, singing, cheering. The atmosphere was one of love and positivity, and it almost felt like we all left our struggles at the door upon arrival at Webster Hall that night.

Mac has been fairly open about his own battles with mental health, especially with the constant strain that touring can leave musicians under. Social media has played a big role in that battle as well. While speaking on the subject in an old interview with Huck Magazine, Mac explained: “I’m a very anxious person, manic depressive. I tend to try not to put that on display.” As a result, Mr. DeMarco chose to ax a few of his online profiles a few years back.

Mac closed out the show with some old familiar tunes, including cult favorites “Chamber of Reflection" and “Proud True Toyota,” and even threw in an unreleased track by the name of “I See The Devil.”

Every once in a while an artist comes along and reminds me that musicians are beloved to the public in the most unique way. The connection people feel to artists and their work is something that feels impossible to replicate through any other medium. This performance, and this album, showed end to end that Mac DeMarco is definitely one of them.

Fans along the barricade enjoying Mac Demarco's set