What: The Lique, with Mosley Wotta

When: 9 p.m. Thursday

Where: Volcanic Theatre Pub, 70 SW Century Drive, Bend

Cost: $8 plus fees in advance, $10 at the door

Contact: volcanictheatre.com or 541-323-1881

It was practically a given that The Lique would come back to Bend sooner rather than later.

The Las Vegas-based hip-hop/jazz combo debuted in the city in January at McMenamins Old St. Francis School. Frontman MC Rasar, a Sacramento native, had played solo shows in Bend before when he was still based on the West Coast. But the response to The Lique blew him and his bandmates away.

“We had a blast — honestly, we talk about it all the time,” Rasar said recently while traveling to Sacramento for the official release party for the band’s sophomore album “Times Like These,” officially released last week. The tour hits Volcanic Theatre Pub on Thursday. “There was this little kid, and this guy was doing all these crazy dance moves and he stole the show. And he was doing the splits, and then this woman got up there and she started dancing. It really just took this child finding his inner — it wasn’t even his inner child, his actual child — he’s getting down and everyone follows suit. It just was a roaring party and we didn’t want to end it.”

The band will play with Mosley Wotta at Volcanic, a bill that was suggested by an audience member at McMenamins. Turns out Rasar has been a fan of the Bend MC and artist going back to his days on the Sacramento hip-hop scene.

The pairing makes sense artistically, too, given both artists’ penchants for mixing humor and introspection in lyrics that tackle social and political issues. The Lique made its intentions clear on its 2016 debut album “Democracy Manifest,” recorded not even a year after the band formed, and songs such as “Batman,” which deals with people’s “obsession with putting on a front” in their everyday lives. “Times Like These” continues many of the themes found on “Democracy Manifest.”

“Now with ‘Times Like These,’ here’s the deal: It’s kind of like the joke’s over,” Rasar said. “There’s still a lot of things to laugh at, but it’s not funny anymore. Not that things were necessarily funny back then. There was very serious issues: war, police brutality, racism, all the -isms you can think of where people bring forth violence. All that was very real, but then a lot of unthinkable things happened in the summer of 2016, and there was a time where we were coming together, and we were feeling like many other people, like, man. It just seemed like every week there’s just something — a bombing over here or this person got killed that was unarmed. It’s not funny.”

The title became a mantra for the band as it was recording the album, and led to many discussions about the cyclical nature of history among the five members — Rasar, guitarist Sean Carbone, keyboardist Jason Corpuz, drummer Jeremy Klewicki and bassist Nick Schmitt.

“We have some very interesting fourth-dimensional talks about whether or not time is linear,” Rasar said. “… When you’re living through something, that’s usually the most important thing because you have that direct experience. But when you read history, it is really history repeating itself — the shifting of government, social tides shifting. Many of the things that we’re seeing — even though we have great technology and all this other stuff — many of these things have already happened if you just go back and think about it. We’re living in ancient Rome all over again.”

Songs such as the hard-funk ­fueled “Mirror, Mirror” and the more somber “Valley of Death” exemplify some of these darker themes. But there are lighter moments, too, especially in the two prerelease singles: “I Am,” which opens the album, and “The Lick,” a humorous look at the band’s beginnings that explains how the its punny name (a combination of a leak, as in information leaking, and a lick that a jazz musician plays). The lyrics in question describe an incident at an early show in Switzerland in 2014, backing vocalist and former “America’s Got Talent” competitor Butterscotch: “Now right when a solo really started to peak … a 6-foot French lady gave a cackle and squeaked; when I asked her why, she said, ‘You don’t know the Lique?’”

The band’s formation in 2015 coincided with Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” an album that combined heavy jazz elements with hip-hop and featured musicians such as pianist Robert Glasper and saxophonist Kamasi Washington. That reference for listeners, combined with strong support from the Las Vegas scene, helped The Lique find success early on in its hometown.

“While we are a jazz family first and foremost, we love hip-hop and we love classical and all these other things. But there is also a contemporary sound in what we’re doing,” Rasar said. “So I think with this new album, you’ll see a lot of the lessons that we learned traveling so much and realizing that we can continue to expand, because improvisation and adaptability is so crucial to who we are. And honestly, I don’t even know if we could have survived — in fact, I know there are specific gigs we could not have survived if we weren’t willing to adapt within our universe.”

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