Mac DeMarco Public Assembly, Brooklyn, NY, October 19

Mac DeMarco Public Assembly, Brooklyn, NY, October 19
Photo: Michelle Cortese
Montreal's Mac DeMarco might have recently linked up with Captured Tracks to release 2, but don't confuse him with the clean-cut, summery fare that label's known for. Not that he doesn't play yacht rock — he does. (DeMarco's scrappier days in Makeout Videotape are long gone, and so is the disturbed, ghost-throated creep-pop of his debut 12-inch Rock and Roll Night Club.) But DeMarco truly separates himself from the pastel-clad masses when witnessed live. More literally than you'd think, too.

DeMarco and his crew of Montrealers outfitted themselves in dirty, oversized shirts, frayed crew necks and ill-fitting jeans — in other words, they resembled Scope-guzzling hobos. It's the delicious irony at the centre of his music: His perfect pop songs are exactly the type of music that shithead scab-pickers shouldn't be playing.

Yet it's all part of DeMarco's charm. For every cheesy live rock trope they used — sloppily timed high-kicks or naming each band member prior to individual solos — they rarely ever convinced the crowd that they're genuine rock stars. They spit beer into each other's mouths. DeMarco fills gaps between songs with deep-voiced, mock-radio host narration. And, quite surprisingly, DeMarco's amateur approach earned him ever-growing crowds at CMJ. It was part juvenile, part delinquent and every part worthwhile.