Last week I was able to attend a Mac Demarco concert in Big Sur, CA. It was a hipster gathering in the heart of the California coast, filled with craft beer, flannel, rompers, sarcastic smoking, and weed. It was relaxed and intimate environment to see a truly talented musician preform and entertain his audience.
Big Sur is a true gem on the coastal road of California, and is the last major stop on Highway 1 going South before you reach the creeping edges of Southern California in Santa Barbra. The Big Sur lifestyle represents a lot of the values of Northern California: healthy living, being responsible for the environment and loving nature, and all sorts of other hippie notions fueled by decades of reefer madness - the perfect setting for a psychedelic pop/rock shoe gaze fest.
The concert was held at Loma Vista Gardens, a place that acts as a town center to the locals of the area. It is complete with giant tree house, small amphitheater, stage, and a DJ booth where the walls are made of tree trunks seeming to have grown around it.
When I arrived a light mist had started to fall on the revelers nestled into the mountainside. Most sat on the dance floor cross-legged passing around joints with their friends. All were dressed in a fairly hipster uniform of plaids, vintage sweaters and the latest from Urban Outfitters. When the DJ’s set came to an end everyone sat up and shuffled to the stage waiting for the opening act to start.
Calvin Love and his band opened with their own brand of synth heavy electro pop. The dreamy tracks had the crowd’s heads bobbing in no time. Calvin Love was the main attraction of the band playing most of the interesting guitar parts and singing. The songs gelled into each other and soon Calvin Love was finishing up their rather misty sounding set as the marine effect laying low in the Mountains of Big Sur began to drop more water on heads of concert goers.
Admittedly I had decided to go to the concert rather last minute and wasn’t extremely familiar with Demarco’ music beyond a few tracks off of his new album "Salad Days", but I was not disappointed. In fact, his live performance was even better than the recorded music. On the recorded music Demarco plays all of the parts, so when you hear the live version it is really different, because now you have other musicians in the mix and putting their own slant on the piece. Demarco’s vocals took on a new life as he hit higher notes then expected and held a tone entirely his own in style. His performance goofy and good natured laden with jokes and crowd surfing, reflected a really easy going sense of a man who is so often portrayed as a clown and joker, gap toothed and inappropriate.
The evening’s music had everyone moving, taking us through highs and lows all beautifully crafted by the crooning voice of Demarco. His new album Salad Days is now available to buy on iTunes.