Published Jun 22, 2014Maybe we were all very wrong about Lena Dunham or Lorde, and a flat-brimmed-hat-wearing singer with a $30 guitar will turn out to be the actual voice of his generation. Judging from the young audience that packed Yonge-Dundas Square on Saturday (overheard: "He's the voice of our generation!") for his early-evening NXNE set, who started chanting DeMarco's name as soon as he and his band started setting up their gear, the British Columbia native is rapidly moving beyond critically acclaimed status and on the verge of becoming a genuine if deeply unlikely rock star.
Live, DeMarco isn't beyond relying on tried-and-true crowd-pleasing gestures (he brought up audience member Luke onstage to dance for a few songs like his own Hawaii-shirted Bez, kissed his bassist under the Pride flag at the demand of the audience and ended his set with a few minutes of crowd-surfing), but the silly banter and beach-party vibe should not draw attention away from the sturdy hooks of songs like "Salad Days" or "Blue Boy," which somehow sounded at once tighter and more relaxed in this context. The impromptu cover of Bob Marley's "Jamming" may have been one step too far into Frosh compilation territory, but it was easily forgiven when DeMarco flashed his disarming grin and kicked into a breezy "Freaking Out the Neighbourhood" that unexpectedly echoed the Style Council's sophisticated cappuccino soul.