I’m not really sure why I don’t end up at Milkboy more often. Maybe it’s because I’m bad at life, but I doubt it. It’s probably because I’m bad at checking out event calendars. But after a dinner consisting of stale crackers, antibiotics and a rum cocktail, I was more than ready to check out Mac DeMarco’s sold-out show this past Thursday. Locals Mock Suns and Ape School opened for everyone’s new favorite Canadian slacker rock babe, and did a swell job of it. I had myself a really good time - infected spider bite and all!
Mock Suns and their heady, playful revelry and what my discerning male companion described as, “agreeable, good-guy guitar-driven indie rock,” which I’m pretty sure was a compliment. If Phoenix and Real Estate and Lower Dens formed a jam band and afterwards wrote a screenplay in which Arnold Schwarzenegger birthed their unlikely child, you’d be looking at Mock Suns. And I refuse to apologize for that statement, because I have an infected spider bite and I liked Mock Suns, and would be psyched to see them again.
Ape School also ruled it, banging out a set of discerningly anthemic rock and roll that worked way more often than not. It was a more stripped-down Ape School than I’m used to with the band taking the stage as a four-piece. Michael Johnson and his smart, moppy pompadour closed out a fulfilling set with his angst-tinged, celebratory, “Be An Encore.” The audience would’ve been down for one more, at least; however, that luxury isn’t usually provided for an opener. Plus, don’t mess with a sound guy and his set times.
Mac DeMarco and his swaggery maneuvering of fine lines in his dirty skate shoes, shrouding his modus operandi as a not-not prolific musician in a cloud of scum and viceroy smoke. He is your future-ex-boyfriend. He’s the best dude you used to skate with. Demarco and his bandmates clearly give a shit about what they’re doing - just not in front of their audience. They’re simply too busy having fun. You can just tell by their ridiculous facial expressions. They’re preternaturally good-natured, rough, goofy and replete. It was a complete-feeling set of clean, hard-edged translations of his studio recordings that still retained their “stoned-on-a-leaking-waterbed-and-hey-perhaps-it’s-the-80s vibe.” They also pulled off a loud, shrieky cover of the Beatles’ “Blackbird” lead by bassist Pierce McGarry in a string of admirably insincere classic rock covers. All in all, DeMarco proved on Thursday evening that good music can make fun of itself and be better for it. (Ape School Photo by Leslie Burnette) - Leslie Burnette