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Review Fri Apr 04 2014

Report: Mac Demarco Freaks Out the Neighborhood @ Empty Bottle


"Mannish Boy"-cum-groove-pop-troubadour Mac Demarco strolled through town on Wednesday night for two sold-out shows at the Empty Bottle, and we were there for the late show to take in the scene in all its buzzed-about and sullied-up glory. Opener and Captured Tracks labelmate Juan Wauters set the tone with some inspired lo-fi jams before jetting off for a quieter show uptown, and reports from the excellent Amen Dunes' set from the earlier show were positive, with Demarco and co. effusing nothing but praise to the Dunes throughout their set.

Appearing on the back of the just-released Salad Days, the newly long-haired Demarco and his equally shaggy band of mates graced the stage bedecked in over-sized shirts and thrift-store caps, laying down their mix of party-ready numbers and actually-sincere bedroom crooning ("Brother"). True to form (or at least satisfying the demands of his increasingly public persona), Demarco played the role of able maestro to the night's affairs, addressing the audience with a mix of slapdash confidence through sips of bourbon and coke (courtesy of the front row), potty humor (with help from touring bassist/ex-Makeout Videotape bandmate Pierce McGarry), and his by-now equally trademark "thank-you-ladies-and-gentleman" showmaster schtick. Contrasted against his goofy off-the-cuff covers of butt-rock jams like "Smoke On The Water," newcomers to the Demarco tent might have been thrown off by his ever-shifting persona onstage (polite vs. abrasive; slow-jamming gentleman vs. punk-ish agitator) but it's those same contradictions that often make the act (not to mention the songs) work as well as it has so far.

Demarco's spoken at length in recent interviews about trying to shed his unwashed-party-boy-next-door image in approaching a new plateau in his career, out of preference to a newer maturity in his songwriting and his own increasing ambition. While the band's on-stage attitude was nothing if not youthful, occasionally sloppy, and at times immature (read: fun), the newer songs spoke to the young songwriter's increasing focus on growth and adulthood: New standouts "Let Her Go" and "Chamber of Reflection" showcased Demarco's knack for easy melody and simple, direct subject matter in the wake of his rapid public ascent over the past two years. Smartly, Demarco and the band split the set between old favorites ("Rock 'n' Roll Nightclub," "The Stars Keep On Calling My Name," and the ubiquitous, smoke-laden "Ode to Viceroy") and newer material, occasionally fighting shrill feedback from the house system but maintaining a good-natured vibe through it all. You'd never guess Demarco's touring band didn't play on these records, either, where Demarco supposedly records every part himself; the band does such a good job of replicating the slow, slippery jams and vibrato guitar tones of tracks like "Cookin' Up Something Good" and "Viceroy" that you would never really know the difference. Luckily, the live band has its own feel (and reputation) at this point, and Demaraco's live act thrives all the better from its assured mix of loose spontaneity, tight showmanship, and jokes about cocaine.

By the time Demarco jumped into the crowd for a lengthy surf around the entirety of the Bottle's packed walls during a loose vamp in set closer "Still Together," the audience was as riled as it had been all night. It's probably a safe bet to assume Demarco will play to at least a crowd this size next time he's in town, as Wednesday night's crowd was only too eager to grab a piece of the guy while he was still willing and eager to pass them out.


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Classical Wed Aug 06 2014

Pulling Strings: For classical music in Chicago, you got a guy - August 2014

By Transmission

Before the main classical season kicks into gear in the next month or two, take advantage of these local artists and ensembles playing throughout the city.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records


Mon Sep 1 2014
African Festival of the Arts

Tue Sep 2 2014
X plays Los Angeles @ City Winery

Wed Sep 3 2014
Creepoid, My Dad, & Shahman @ Township

Wed Sep 3 2014
X plays Wild Gift @ City Winery

Wed Sep 3 2014
Now What? A Conversation w/the Creators of Alaska & JoMama Jones

Thu Sep 4 2014
Owen Pallett & Foxes in Fiction @ Metro

Thu Sep 4 2014
X plays Under the Big Black Sun @ City Winery

Fri Sep 5 2014
X plays More Fun in the New World @ City Winery

Fri Sep 5 2014
Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest

Fri Sep 5 2014
The Hideout Block Party & Onion AV Fest

Sat Sep 6 2014
Hideout Block Party & A.V. Fest

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Anne Holub,
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