On this very wet, cold and dreich Friday evening, with the Gallowgate already enveloped with black ice, we arrive down early at the legendary Barrowlands Ballroom, amidst a sea of skip hats.
Opening tonight for Canadian singer ‘Mac DeMarco’ are psychedelic-pop wizard Ben Montero and his band. The band quickly break into their first song of their set with abound of lush, Beach Boy harmonies and jangly guitars. As the band see fit to remove their wooly hats on stage, as they quite literally warm into their opening set; a well-paced and very talented display of zig-zagging synths and boundless enthusiasm from the band’s frontman ‘Montero’.
As the band introduce their latest single release ‘Vibrations’ it becomes very clear that that very hard-core fans have come early to see this song being performed on stage.With its glam-rock influences and anthemic chorus, Montero’s eccentrism is fully on display.This is followed by the percussive crowd-pleaser ‘Pilot’, which nicely ends off their set.The ballroom has steadily filled up with Mac DeMarco’s white-socked disciples, awaiting the arrival of their slacker-pop messiah by this point of the evening.
As the lights went down, the band arrives on stage one-by-one and DeMarco is last to arrive, wearing a “see you jimmy” hat and clasping onto a bottle of Buckfast. The tone of tonight’s set has already been set. The band open with ‘One The Level’ a synth-heavy slow-groover from DeMarco’s “This Old Dog”, a slight departure from his trademark, lo-fi guitar sound of his past records, however it’s not long before the guitar comes out and his familiar riff of the ever-popular ‘Salad Days’ ensues, the crowd is now jumping as chants of “la la la la-la” reverberate around the room.
A unidentified, inflatable object is lobbed into the crowd from nowhere – a reoccurring theme of tonight’s gig, we soon discover, low-flying items being thrown back and forth from the stage to the crowd; we’re now beginning to think that maybe the abundance of headwear in the room was less an aesthetic choice, and more a practical one.
As we expected there’s still plenty of new material to come throughout his set tonight from his latest record ‘This Old Dog’, that being said, DeMarco strikes an ideal balance between giving serenading fans new tracks whilst giving fans old favourites such as ‘Cooking Up Something Good’, ‘Ode to Viceroy’, ‘Let Her Go’ and ‘Freaking out the Neighbourhood’. Band guitarist ‘Andy Craig’ guitar chops gets giving a good airing throughout the performance, particularly on the new album’s title track in which gets a guitar solo which brings entire room to a quiet standstill.