COLUMBIA, MD: The Postal Service perform at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Tuesday, June 18, 2013. ? Brandon Wu / for the Washington City Paper.

“We’re an imaginary band called The Postal Service,” said Ben Gibbard by way of introduction after a few songs, garnering more than a few chuckles. For an imaginary band, The Postal Service—-Gibbard, Jimmy Tamborello, Jenny Lewis and D.C.’s own Laura Burhenn (of The Mynabirds, Georgie James)—-put on quite a good show last night.

They played, of course, every single track from Give Up, as well as the song that got the whole thing started, “(This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan.” Predictably, it was these songs that got the most delirious reaction from the crowd, while newer pieces—-most of which appear on the 10th anniversary deluxe edition of Give Up—-were played to a warm but less enthusiastic reception.

I have to admit: While I loved Give Up when it came out, for whatever reason The Postal Service seemed like a dated throwback to me by just a few years after that album’s release. So I was pleasantly surprised by a dynamic live show that featured all the sugary-sweet emotional hooks one would expect, but also rock ‘n’ roll energy levels and even a few moments of blissfully opaque noise.

Full slideshow, including photos of openers Ra Ra Riot, available here.