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Mac Saturn Ends Tour After Hometown Show

NOTE: This article was initially written on January 28th, prior to the second statement released by Mac Saturn. It has since been revised. The culmination of years of hard work for the flourishing Detroit-based rock band Mac Saturn, this past Friday was all set to be a monumental hometown celebration, but this was overshadowed by the sudden news of keyboardist Evan Mercer’s arrest on child pornography charges earlier that day.



With the band’s debut album, “Hard to Sell”, releasing, and the kickoff show at the historic Fillmore Detroit for their largest tour yet, this night was the biggest in the band’s history so far. Carrying a lot of momentum from 2023 with their debut headliner tour as well as an opener slot for Brit-rock band, The Struts, on their 25-date U.S. tour, Mac Saturn has been quickly rising in popularity.


Hours before the biggest headliner show the band has ever played, news broke of keyboardist Evan Mercer’s FBI arrest. This news came as a shock to both fans and the band itself, who quickly released a statement, announcing Mercer was “no longer a member of the band”.  Many have been critical of this initial response following the show, saying it was not enough given the severity of Mercer’s actions and that the show should have been canceled immediately.


UPDATE: As of Monday, January 29th, Mac Saturn has released a follow-up statement in response to the controversy brought by their initial handling of the arrest. "We have taken a few days to process and come to you with this message from our hearts", the band wrote. In the new statement, they extend sympathy to the victims of Mercer, and pledge a donation to the Joyful Heart Foundation. In addition to this, they have canceled the rest of the tour, effective immediately. The rest of the statement can be found below:





Shortly before doors opened, opener The Thing With Feathers withdrew from the show. (TTWF would later withdraw from the rest of the Hard to Sell Tour). After this was announced, Rochester-based Christian Ohly was called to take their place at the Fillmore Detroit shortly before the show began.


Ohly, backed by nothing but his own acoustic guitar, played to the crowd of thousands to overwhelming support. During the set, Ohly spoke on the magnitude of the experience, talking about how the last show he played the week prior was to 80 people. Ohly’s set was a highlight of the night, with his down-to-earth, storytelling lyrics and warm vocal performances. Ohly has since come out with a statement about the circumstances of the night however, “Had I known the situation beforehand, I would not have accepted the gig” he said about the show.


Before Mac Saturn’s set, the lead singer of the band, Carson Macc, made a brief statement, similar to what was said on Instagram. “The news of today has been shocking and horrifying”, he said, but in the eyes of the band, the show must go on.


The Detroit audience was filled with a diverse blend of people drawn to the 70s inspired glam-rock swagger of Mac Saturn. A solid mix of Gen X’ers of Zoomers alike, both sides there for the unique blend of Motown-soul and British-rock. One concertgoer shared with me how his daughter had convinced him to a Mac Saturn concert last year, and now he’d proudly say he’s a bigger fan than she is.



Kicking off their set with two songs off their debut EP, “Until The Money Runs Out”, the hard-hitting and schmoozy “Diamonds” and the electric “Persian Rugs”, it was clear that the fans in the crowd were in support of the band members during this challenging time. Although tension lingered in the air prior to their performance, once the punchy guitars from Nick Barone and Mike Moody kicked in, the audience’s focus shifted to the extravagant stage presence and talent of the band.


Many songs from their new album, “Hard to Sell”, had already become crowd favorites during their last year of touring, so even newly released songs like the bluesy rock cut “Box Cutter” had fans singing along with every word. “Ain’t Like You” was a particularly special moment during the show, with the entire crowd clapping along and rushing to the pit, moved by a minutes-long guitar solo from Mike Moody which had entranced the audience.



The band ended their set with their biggest hits, the infectious and groovy “Mr. Cadillac”, and the new, yet equally catchy “Mint Julep”. The entire night was filled with incredible showmanship, especially from the lead-singer, Carson Macc, who had exuded Jagger-inspired charisma throughout the entire show, including multiple outfit changes. The entire band embodies a fresh take on a classic sound, and they look the part as well.


After “Mint Julep” ended, fans cried out for an encore, and Macc and Barone responded by delivering a heartfelt, acoustic version of “Junkie” from “Hard to Sell”. As each band member slowly came back onstage during the performance between the two who started it all, the crowd knew what was coming next. The show officially ended with album-closer “Plain Clothes Gentleman”, an anthemic song which feels ripped straight from the end of a movie.


In the aftermath of a night filled with unforeseen challenges, Mac Saturn not only survived but soared in the eyes of the fans there. Whether or not this remains true over time is yet to be seen, as they are continuing to garner controversy online regarding how they handled Mercer’s actions and arrest.


In the aftermath of unforeseen challenges, Mac Saturn not only survived the difficult night but delivered a memorable performance that showcased their resilience and passion. The lingering question remains: will this incident become the defining moment in the trajectory of Mac Saturn's young career, or will it be a mere footnote in the biography of the next big group out of Detroit.

Regardless, Mac Saturn's willingness to right their past mistakes and continue making Detroit proud shines brightly against the appalling actions of former member Mercer.



Setlist:

  • Diamonds

  • Persian Rugs

  • Boxcutter

  • Young In Paradise

  • Get on the Phone

  • Sleep

  • Ain’t Like You

  • Telephone Microphone Stand

  • Good to You

  • Mr. Cadillac

  • Mint Julep

  • Junkie (Encore)

  • Plain Clothes Gentleman (Encore)


Full gallery of photos shot by WXOU's Andrew Deacon:



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