Father John Misty plays at State Theatre on Saturday. This is his first performance in Maine since 2018. Provided photo by Robert Kerr

The last time Father John Misty appeared in Portland, it was for a 2018 performance at Thompson’s Point. At the time, it was his third visit to the city in five years, dating back to a 2013 club gig at Port City Music Hall (R.I.P.).

On his return to the State Theatre on Saturday, his long hair had long been chopped down, as if he exchanged his beatific looks for something more weathered and worn.

In that time, his older songs have also lost their new-car smell and settled into becoming well-worn standards of modern folk-pop. It’s been a long five years.

He arrived at the State Theatre with a band of nine members, including a full horn section, presumably to flesh out material from his most recent album, 2022’s “Chloë and the Next 20th Century.” The record may be his least-renowned of his five albums as Father John Misty, but it’s the most musically complex, using the jazzy flourishes of classic Hollywood soundtracks in songs like “Funny Girl” and “Chloë” to flesh out a full suite of stories. The expanded instrumentation is required to bring these songs to life, and both were performed with dramatic flair.

In addition to this material, the band worked its way through eight of the 11 songs from his breakthrough album, “I Love You, Honeybear,” which is unusual considering it came out in 2015; either he feels that album is where his bread is buttered, or he simply likes what those songs add to a setlist. These songs certainly offer a range of textures, from the majestic gallop of “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” to the loping swing of the set-closing title track to the accelerating growl of the encore-closing “The Ideal Husband,” as they dive into the complexity of romance with measures of self-deprecation.

Father John Misty’s lyrics – a major part of his appeal – are laced with this kind of acidic wit and often balance a world-weary cynicism with a belief in love and connection. This is best explained by “Pure Comedy,” a song that dissects human nature and lays out the dim prospects of our collective future, yet ends with “I hate to say it, but each other’s all we’ve got.” It was one of several songs he played that toyed with this dichotomy – just a few songs later he returned to similar wry observations in the acoustic folk song “Holy Sh*t.”

If there’s a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other with his lyrics, then thankfully, the angel provided him with his singing voice –a mahogany timbre that can fill the airspace of a room like the State Theatre to the last row. In his past performances in Portland, particularly the Port City gig, his vocals were capable of flooring the audience. While this current band brought new colors to his older material, it also occasionally drowned his voice too low in the sound mix.

They also may have pointed to his future with a rousing performance of “Time Makes Fools of Us All.” This song made a few appearances in his sets in 2019, only to disappear for years before re-emerging at the State Theatre in the form of an extended funk workout, similar to something that LCD Soundsystem might perform. There are many things to expect from a Father John Misty concert, but a dance party breaking out is not high on that list. The next time he plays in Portland, he might be unrecognizable yet again.

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