By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Oct 19, 2007 at 12:26 AM

When I last saw the nearly indescribable Polyphonic Spree at The Rave in July, my only complaint was the sub par acoustics at that particular venue. That wasn't a problem Thursday night, when the flamboyant 22-piece band returned to the beautiful Pabst Theater, a venue with practically perfect sound.

The Spree put on a really similar show to the one three months ago, but sometimes the venue makes all the difference. An animated crowd was whipped into a frenzy by the sheets of sounds during this lengthy show. They began with "Running Away," and didn't play their most recognizable song, "Light and Day / Reach For the Sun." Otherwise, they staged the same act, from cutting a heart in a big, red ribbon to start the show, to walking off, one by one, before they returned in white robes for their encore. Predictable? Yes. Fun, definitely.

Though the band's songs really do sound mostly the same, the theatrical, over-the-top stylings of the cultish-but-friendly front man, Tim DeLaughter, only began to get old as the show was wrapping up. And, like last time, it ended with a lengthy (but not quite as lengthy) pitch to buy Spree CDs. Note to DeLaughter: we already bought our tickets and will come back again. Please leave the salesmanship at home.

In fact, DeLaughter at times seemed annoyed with the audience. One obnoxious heckler interrupted his rambling mid-concert monologue, and it appeared, quite understandably, to throw DeLaughter off his game. During the second half of the show, he checked his watch several times, like he had somewhere to be. It was the first time I've seen that happen at a concert.

But even with a couple of bumps in the road, this truly unique band delivered another solid and enlightening show, even launching into an impromptu ditty thanking my friend Kate for bringing the group cookies before the concert.

Two bands opened for Polyphonic Spree. The Redwalls, who despite their clownish 1960s rocker getups and fashion mullets, sounded pretty good; and Rooney, who, while musically talented, came across absolutely ridiculously as they ripped off everyone from Night Ranger to REO Speedwagon in an agonizingly long set that would've been better suited to a 12-year-old girl's birthday party. Don't even get me started on the bassist, who I think was an extra from a John Hughes movie ...

But back to the Spree. I said it in July: I'll see this band any time they come to Milwaukee. And true to DeLaughter's word, he came back soon. Lets hope Milwaukee becomes a regular stop on the Spree's tour. And when they come to Milwaukee, hopefully they'll play at a venue like The Pabst that can truly compliment this group's bombastic sound.

Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.