It was a bit of a trip walking into Manchester’s Albert Hall for the first time. The Grade II listed building, formerly a Wesleyan Chapel, is a venue I pass nearly every day on the way to work, but I’ve never ventured inside. It’s a glorious building, the ornate chapel within having been restored by the folks at Trof, who are behind wonderful Manchester venues Gorilla and The Deaf Institute.
As the light filtered into the picturesque main hall through the stained glass windows, scrappy indie-punks Spring King were getting the day off to a great start. Whilst I wasn’t too happy to see cheap beer costing a bomb (something like 24 squid for 4 cans? Fuck me…) I was happy to catch these guys. They were one of the particular highlights from the support acts, with The Big Moon being another winner from the day. The latter have been making waves just lately, with everyone wanting a scrap of the London based four-piece.
Half 9 came around quicker than expected (as did my caving in for overpriced beer) and as the kids scrambled into the main hall, the pensioners like me in their 20’s made for the balcony area. The kids have an indescribable love for this guy and Mac looked pleased as punch to be there.
Whilst of course I’m a massive fan of the boy Mac, I also have a lot of love for guitarist Andy, who is pure Dazed and Confused era Matthew McConaughey levels of zany. Strutting about stage in his bare feet, sans shirt, he fits in with the travelling Mac DeMarco troupe so well. Throughout the show, as is usual for these boys, a shit load of things were chucked up on stage. In their piss-take, throwback, rock-and-roll ways, Andy and bassist Pierce were sporting bras on the end of their guitars by the end of the night – the bloody lads!
Mac’s currently popping up on shows here and there following the release of his brilliant new EP ‘Another One’, which you’ll probably have heard is full to the brim with heartfelt slow jams. The setlist was unsurprisingly peppered with the majority of the EP, all of which sounded great. The energy levels on these new tracks suited the slowed down, hazy tone of the EP, though the lovely ‘I’ve Been Waiting For Her’ was a little more amped up. It’s the classic Mac tracks that were full on energetically paced, with the audience in the main hall pretty much losing their shit throughout. The foot-stomping ‘Du Hast’ intro to ‘Freaking Out The Neighbourhood’ was a welcome surprise!
Whilst looking for a setlist from last night, I came across this great note from his recent show in Birmingham. During ‘Still Together’, it’s noted that ‘Mac got trampled in the mosh pit and fucked off’, which is almost what happened in Manchester too. During a particularly powerful rendition of said track toward the end of the night, Mac flew into the crowd and pretty much disappeared. After a worryingly long time lost in the pit, our hero finally emerged, sans shoes, looking utterly knackered. His everyman appeal shone through here more than ever, as I’m fucked after a few songs in the pit…
Thankfully, he didn’t fuck off, and a shirtless Mac came back out for the encore, performing a hilariously long rendition of ‘Enter Sandman.’ Complete with stobe lighting and menacing red lighting, this was easily one of the main highlights from the evening. Though I’m sure the kids in the crowd would have been happy if he’d just stood on stage doing nothing for an hour, I reckon at least a few of them were completely confused by this overly long rendition of the Metallica staple. Harking back to the medley’s he used to bust out with the band during encores, this was Mac at his piss-taking best. We also got treated to some hilariously obnoxious bro-riffs with a bit of ‘Smoke On The Water’ thrown in for good measure. The hideous corpse of Michael Jackson also made an appearance, following his turning up in the video for ‘Another One’, with his key dance moves wowing those in attendance.
The Albert Hall was a great choice of venue for Mac, and the whole day more than lived up to my expectations. If it was up to me, I’d prefer to see him making an appearance in one of Manchester’s small venues on the toilet circuit, but fair fucks to Mac – those days are long gone.
The whole shindgig was all part of Beacons Metro, which will continue on from here into Leeds. Starting October 2nd at Leeds’ newest venue Headrow House, its 12 week run will also feature music programmes across Belgrave Music Hall, Canal Mills and Wharf Chambers. Beacons Metro will be showcasing a huge line-up of acts, including the brilliant Everything Everything, East India Youth, The Wytches and Kagoule. Full details can be found by clicking the image below.