There’s a certain kind of performance that hits you dead in the center of the chest; it leaves you breathless and in awe. The trio Menomena (for onstage purposes: a party of four) are astonishing live, a spectacle of tremendous might unleashed from relatively unassuming guys.

They enter to a thumb piano loop and a hero’s welcome from fans, abruptly launching into “Tithe” from their latest release, Mines. Drummer Danny Seim contributes dry and heartfelt vocals while hammering out impossible beats and clobbering baby doll heads (a drum kit adaptation that has the audience snickering).  

“TAOS” swoops in next on a distorted riff, pierced through with ragged guitars and contrasting sweet piano, guitar/bass/saxophonist Justin Harris alternating between menacing accusative wails and comparatively pensive vocal moments. The transition into “Weird” is marked with an intense crowd sing-along as the audience is spontaneously whipped into a frenzy.

The dramatic “Killemal” is carried on keyboardist Brent Knopf’s honeyed vocal tones and tinkling synths. Knopf concludes the song with an explanation that he’s fueled by cold medicine, but one would never know that he was the slightest bit under the weather from the energy that he exudes on stage, graceful and enthusiastic as ever.  

“Muscle ‘n Flow” gets the audience singing again against its sparse backdrop, “Five Little Rooms” contrasts with darker undertones, Harris’ saxophone puncturing the reflective atmosphere laid out by Seim’s vocals. Knopf steals the show at the end with his piano prowess.

More new offerings follow: “BOTE” is impressive live, clearly showing with its tricky stops and starts how remarkably tight this ensemble is live. “Queen Black Acid” is gorgeous and is a good segue into the wildly popular favorite “Wet and Rusting.” “Dirty Cartoons” opens with Seim’s baby heads providing some comic relief to an otherwise longing song that culminates with all three singing in tandem. “The Pelican” is grim and forceful, Harris’ voice almost a caw against a lumbering, herky-jerky backdrop. “Intil” provides a softer counterpoint, preparing the crowd for set closer “Evil Bee,” which builds and soars and is clearly one of their finest compositions.  

The band returns for an encore of “Strongest Man in the World,” opening on a pulsating organ loop, with Seim wowing us on drums and then suggestively deep throating his mic as he sings. A truly remarkable performance by a band that takes itself just seriously enough to deliver a spot-on performance but still deliver a playfulness endearing to fans that left this audience begging for more.