Conchords sell out seats, not style
Thereâ€™s a reason why Flight of the Conchords sold out last nightâ€™s performance at Bass Concert Hall â€” with nearly 3,000 seats at $38.50 a piece Ââ€” in only 10 minutes. Theyâ€™re simply hilarious.
Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, who have billed themselves as â€œNew Zealandâ€™s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo,â€ have built up a huge cult following in their 11-year career as Flight of the Conchords.
In the summer of 2007, they premiered a self-titled HBO series, which has since amassed tons of fans and critical acclaim. This led to a record deal with indie giant Sub Pop Records, which has since put out multiple releases featuring songs from the TV show, including a Grammy-winning EP and a certified-Platinum full-length album.
The performance had a good mix of songs ranging from the classics to brand new tracks.
Although theyâ€™re exponentially more famous than the past times theyâ€™ve been through Austin (South by Southwest 2006, when they were generally unknown to the larger public), they still maintain their trademark awkwardness, humility and the general sense that theyâ€™re just nice guys with a knack for great comedic song-writing.
Oldies â€œJennyâ€ and â€œHip-Hopopotamus vs. The Rhymenocerosâ€ were crowd favorites, and the audience went absolutely nuts (no pun intended) during â€œSugaLumps,â€ a ballad about the guysâ€™ testicles, when they stepped down into the audience to very subtly serenade â€¦ the ladies.
Comedian Eugene Mirman, who plays Bret and Jemaineâ€™s landlord in the series, opened the show. Mirman is well known for performing in musical settings, having toured with bands such as The Shins, Modest Mouse and Yo La Tengo. His routine was hilarious, especially when he riffed on Delta Airlines, which he hates for having once â€œlost and destroyedâ€ his luggage. He read aloud an angry letter he once wrote the company in which he commented that â€œflying with Delta is like hiring an insincere baby with amnesia to solve a crime IT committed!â€
On their show, Flight of the Conchords play a hapless, broke version of themselves who can hardly get a gig anywhere other than places such as public libraries, aquariums and elevators.
Although this is hardly the case in real life, and they did not present themselves as their characters, it was hard at times to figure out if they were there to promote their show or their music.
By this point theyâ€™re nearly one in the same, and the Conchordsâ€™ name has turned into a multifaceted franchise generating buzz from every angle. If anything, this non-distinction, where the familiarity with the material meets the theatrics of the performance, greatly enhanced the experience.
All in all, the performance, although predictable, was an extremely entertaining way to spend an evening, especially at the gorgeous, newly renovated Bass Concert Hall. The group may only be New Zealandâ€™s fourth most popular folk parody duo, but in Austin, theyâ€™re definitely No. 1.