MGMT brought a refreshing nonchalance and whimsical sense to The Anthem on March 15, marrying a subdued stage presence with playful oddities like its lead singer on an exercise bike and a cameo by a child-sized piano.

The indie duo, composed of Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden, is on tour to promote its latest album, “Little Dark Age,” which dropped in February. The group is an established name in the alternative scene, characterized by early pop anthems off its 2007 album, “Oracular Spectacular,” and more recent forays into hazy psych-rock off albums like 2013 album “MGMT” and 2010 album “Congratulations.” MGMT stayed true to the psychedelic undertones of its newest album in concert but did not forfeit competent musicianship for an eccentric stage presence.

Although The Anthem, D.C.’s newest venue, comfortably fit the mellow audience before the show began, its soothing aesthetic could not compensate for the lackluster performance of opening act and experimental producer Matthew Dear.

Dear’s uninspired industrial beats and lack of lyricism left much to be desired. At one point, the singer picked up a guitar as if to play but instead cradled the instrument like an infant for the rest of the set. After 45 minutes of sounds mimicking washing machines and unintelligible muttering, the audience was understandably nonplussed.

After a brief intermission, MGMT greeted the restless crowd. Rather than taking the stage with fanfare, the band simply walked on to the sparse stage with self-assured ease, launching into its first number, “Little Dark Age.” VanWyngarden wore baggy leather pants and a geometric-print shirt, which harkened back to the eponymous album’s 1980s nostalgia, while Goldwasser acted as his foil in a sharp suit.

The group maintained a stoic presence through its next song, “When You Die,” focusing on the music rather than the crowd. After their third song, the fan favorite “Time to Pretend,” the band members began to loosen up. VanWyngarden addressed the audience with a simple and endearing “I like this place” in response to the audience’s enthusiasm.

Before the band played its next song, “She Works Out Too Much,” the stagehands brought a retro exercise bike out to the main microphone. In an odd interpretation of the song’s lament of superficiality, VanWyngarden hopped on the bike and began pedaling for the entirety of the song. The outlandish action, however, did not detract from the performance and was well-received by the crowd.

During “Me and Michael,” an honest and unpretentious appreciation of friendship, VanWyngarden shot a coy smile at the bassist, aptly named Michael. Such fleeting moments of genuine interaction between bandmates and their music showed MGMT has not become disaffected by the repetitiveness of touring. They still genuinely seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage, regardless of the audience’s response.

Moments that could have come off as gimmicky but instead seemed authentic added to MGMT’s joyful aura. In addition to VanWyngarden’s brief cycling workout, the band members also took a literal approach to their lyrics in “When You’re Small.” Seated on a small step stool, Goldwasser played a child-sized piano, resembling a real-life version of the pianist Schroeder from the “Peanuts” comics.

The final song of the band’s planned set was “Kids.” Although the song is perhaps the duo’s most well-known and highly demanded track, MGMT performed it with passion and a fresh take.

Halfway through the song, the band transitioned into “The NeverEnding Story,” the title song from the eponymous 1984 children’s movie originally performed by English pop act Limahl. While much of the audience was too young to understand the reference, the addition provided an upbeat and wistful expansion of “Kids.” Feeding off the band’s genuine nostalgia, the audience was electrified by the unexpected transition and embraced the kitschy ’80s pop.

The band returned for an encore performance of songs “Hand It Over” and “Of Moons, Birds & Monsters.” While the encore did not share the same electrifying impression of “Kids,” “Of Moons, Birds & Monsters” provided a final display of the band’s talent and a solid bookend to the show.

The duo’s animated and playful performance showed that, despite being a fixture in the indie scene for over ten years, MGMT has not lost its ability to have a good time through music. Marrying a childlike wonder with palpable musicianship, MGMT refreshingly brought a sense of fun to The Anthem.

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