The Irish Times - Thursday, May 6, 2010
Flight of the Conchords
Olympia, Dublin Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, â€œformerly New Zealandâ€™s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo,â€ seem to have taken superstardom in their stride. With a hit HBO TV series, two hit albums, and sellout tours around the world, Flight Of The Conchords are flying high, but at the first of their two Dublin shows, Bret and Jemaine seem to have their feet on the ground â€“ and their asses on two very wobbly stools.
â€œThis is the only thing I donâ€™t like about Dublin,â€ deadpans Jemaine as he rocks precariously from side to side.
You could say Flight of the Conchords are between two stools â€“ too funny to be a straight-up rock band, too musical to be a serious stand-up comedy act.
â€œThereâ€™ll be songs, and some talking between songs, and, er, thatâ€™s it,â€ they warn us. For the loyal fans who have packed the Olympia, thatâ€™s more than enough.
No musical genre is safe from the pairâ€™s spot-on parodies, but theyâ€™re at their best when making fun of the alpha-male attitudes of soul, funk and hip-hop.
Ladies Of The World gets more priapic â€“ and preposterous â€“ than Prince, Bretâ€™s falsetto and Jemaineâ€™s baritone executing a pincer movement on their multitudinous quarry; in contrast, Business Time is a quickie bedtime story thatâ€™s over in two minutes. The Most Beautiful Girl (In The Room) sees them damning a poor dame with faint praise, while Think About It takes Marvin Gayeâ€™s social conscience and drags it down an alley for a good kicking.
They switch to medieval madrigal mode for a new song about â€œwooing a ladyâ€, go a bit OK Computer on Robots , and then go completely Serge Gainsbourg for Foux Du Fafa , but they opt to do only one track, Demon Woman , from their new album, I Told You I Was Freaky . When they perform it, though, they rip their shirts and jeans off to reveal superhero glam sequins. So, some songs, some talking between songs, and one costume change. I knew fame would turn their heads.
Itâ€™s Business Time â€“ an evening with Flight of the Conchords
Saturday, May 8th, 2010
Guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk music fans were treated to a fantastic nightâ€™s entertainment this week as Flight of the Conchords took to the stage at Dublinâ€™s Olympia Theatre.
Of course, a gig wouldnâ€™t be a truly good gig unless there was a story to tell, so Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajokul, kindly stepped up to the plate and once more spread a plume of volcanic ash into the sky, resulting in Irish airspace being closed. This did not deter the Conchords though; they made it to Dublin on a bus. Troopers.
Our very own David Oâ€™Doherty, who had just returned from Australia, supported Flight of the Conchords. Oâ€™Doherty combined dryly sarcastic comments about the every day and the mundane with tunes played on his miniature keyboard. He well and truly warmed the audience up with his self-deprecating comments about his French trousers and his observations about the rage levels of passengers who travel in the â€˜quietâ€™ carriages of trains. Oâ€™Dohertyâ€™s musical whimsy set the tone for the evening and he walked off stage to rapturous applause.
After a short interval the audience happily crammed back into their seats and as the curtain rose to the opening chords of The Most Beautiful Girl (In the Room) the audience roared their delight at the Conchords having made it to Dublin at all. Bret and Jemaine are noted for their understated style of comedy that relies on the easy interaction between them, silliness and awkwardness. Fans of the HBO TV show that catapulted the duo to fame will be aware of the fact that Flight are the Conchords are nothing if not self deprecating; Bret and Jemaine showed this off to full effect on stage.
The duo gave an outline as to how the show would operate, how the balance would be struck between songs and talk; â€˜talk, talk, song, talkâ€™ then launched into firm favourites including The Humans are Dead, Jenny and Hiphopopatamus vs. Rhymenoceros. Bret and Jemaine also had a surprise guest touring with them â€“ The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, also known as Nigel; one man and his cello. This is another example of the Conchordsâ€™ self deprecating sense of humour, the self in this case extending to their home land, New Zealand.
The Conchords mixed their established material â€“ including Iâ€™m Not Crying and Foux Da Fa Fa â€“ with new songs. Woo A Lady tells the long and extremely complicated story of Jemaine trying to, well, woo a lady in 1353. Bus Driverâ€™s Song pretty much is what you would expect â€“ a song sung by a bus driver as he takes tourists around a small town. Sounds tedious, but the air of whimsy and slight bewilderment added by Bret and Jemaine themselves made the songs work.
It is easy to confuse Flight of the Conchords with their contemporaries The Mighty Boosh, and to that end, it could have been a disappointing show for fans of the Boosh who expected similar from the Conchords. Whereas The Mighty Boosh put on, for want of a better phrase, a play, Flight of the Conchords rely on their music for the comedy factor and really strip down the live show into the main components that made the TV show so strong â€“ Bret and Jemaine.
Bret and Jemaine handled heckling from the crowd with ease and enjoyment, and when someone shouted â€˜Play some Princeâ€™ from the back, they spontaneously began to play Kiss which very smoothly led into Business Time. The duo mixed it up a bit in the middle of the set with Demon Woman, and while Bret and Jemaineâ€™s stage clothes very easily tore away to reveal the rhinestone cat suits underneath, they took several minutes to reassemble, which just added awkwardness to silliness and the crowd loved it. For the encore David Oâ€™Doherty came out and joined the lads on drums for the wonderful Bowie, then with a wave and a â€˜We like youâ€™ the Conchords were gone.
The show did feel slightly short, and the toy piano displayed prominently on stage was sadly never used, but the show was late starting due to volcanic interruptions to travel plans. It would be easy to say that we were robbed, having missed out on songs like I Told You I Was Freaky and Sugalumps â€“ both of which were on the set list for Amsterdam the night before â€“ but honestly, the crowd seemed so happy that the Conchords actually made it to Dublin they were willing to forgive this, and other small errors that, at the end of the day, didnâ€™t really detract from the show at all.
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