My first Marc Rebillet concert was at a dive bar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. My friend Corey invited me to the show.
“You gotta check out this guy Marc Rebillet, he’s incredible”, Corey urged. “All of his songs are 100% improvised on the spot. I’ve never heard anything like it. He’s huge on reddit”.
Eager to see “huge on reddit” in person, I hopped on the G train and met Corey at the concert. To be honest, the word “concert” is an embellishment. Marc’s setup was situated in the back of the bar between a pool table and the two-dollar photo booth. Of the 25 attendees, at least half were there against their will due to a scheduling overlap with their weekly game of pool. From a performer’s perspective, the venue was an absolute nightmare. It makes me think of comedians recalling their early days performing at the local bowling alley or bingo night. Here’s some video evidence.
None of this phased Marc. He rocked a 90 minute set of fully improvised, never-before-heard songs. At one point, a random street vendor came into the bar yelling “Empanadas! Empanadas!” to alert the crowd of the food available for sale. Instead of disrupting the performance, it led to the most memorable song of the night — a medley of 808 drums over the inexplicably catchy loop of “empanadas”.
It’s been a couple years since that show and Marc has soared beyond subreddit stardom. He’s earned over 600k Youtube followers, has a 25 city European tour under his belt, and was poised for a summer full of festivals (before they were cancelled one by one).
Funky basslines, bizarre lyrics, and a non-stop energy — all reasons why Marc’s following has blossomed. But there’s another factor that stands out the most: his visceral creativity. To witness one of Marc’s shows (or live streams) is a lesson in originality that’s just not on display anywhere else. We’re very accustomed to seeing finished products. The corporate tweet vetted by an entire marketing department. The perfectly angled selfie of that model you follow on Instagram. Or even your favorite musician’s latest single. But witnessing pure creation while it’s happening? That’s a whole different ball game.
So it came as a slight shock when the guy with endless ideas encountered a common struggle. It’s a challenge I battle daily. What do you do when you hit a creative dead end? What happens when the ideas stop flowing? In true Marc fashion, the answer is delivered in a song.
“When you can’t come up with another idea…f*ck it, dude. Just make something. Just get up, get in front of your sh*t. Pump it out, baby! No one gives a f*ck about your creative integrity. None of it matters. All that matters is that you’re here, working. Making sh*t.”-Marc Rebillet, from “Another Idea”
Thanks to Corey (and reddit) for introducing me to Marc. And thanks to Marc for creating the anthem I play on repeat whenever I can’t come up with another idea. It works.
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