Folk The Fringe

Edinburgh Fringe reports and news from 2003 & 2004


30.8.04 - And the curtain falls

Another year of Fringe over. Well, almost. One more show for the guys tonight. I've heard many things about this years show. Some great, some good and some pretty crap. But hey, overall the guys done good. Don't forget they are loitering in the UK a while longer and performing at the Soho Theatre from September 8-18. And maybe some other things too. I'll keep you posted.

26.8.04 Travesty! Hrm wasn't that a BeeGees song?

Depending on who/what you read the omission of Flight of The Conchords from this years Perrier shortlist is either a) "a travesty" or b) "mildly surprising, but not a serious outrage"

Having not seen this years show, or any of the others on the shortlist, far be it from me to comment, but for the reviewer/critic who said b, I am wishing for a pile of dog poo to find itself stuck to the bottom of said reviewers foot.

Congrats to ProBono for getting the correct answer first try. And for all the Ed snippets. And pics. And stuff.

25.8.04 - Inertia, inaction and induced coma....

...and that is just the show apparently. The guys are becoming masters of the understated dry wit it seems. Some of the people seeing the show are getting its meant to be funny. Others *ahem* seem to be missing the point. Still, each to their own.

I pondered making some stuff up for a few seconds. Then I realised that meant I would have to type more. And I am feeling way to lazy to attempt such a feat. So, instead I spent hours trawling the web for snippets and dug up some pretty useless stuff to post. Not all of it is useless I should hasten to add. But come on people... somebody out there must have the all important Jemaine pic after he takes his helmet off? Or Bret when he pulls one of his 'faces' You know the ones I mean? When he hits the high notes....

21.8.04 - More snippets... and what about those sheep eh?

From the Herald by Tim Abrahams

'Flight Of The Conchords erstwhile folk parodists have now become straightforward parodists. Their musical pastiches have an R'n'B and hip-hop feel to them. Their opening ballad about a failed romantic liaison in a park, however, sets the atmosphere by refusing to take anything seriously whatsoever. F o' The C, to which the chaps have decided to abbreviate their name this year, are so thoroughly silly that a song like She's So Hot, Boom! which probably started out as a pastiche of an R'n'B tune ends up as an excuse for them to jump around a bit. The Conchords have wisely made their comedy a little more physical although they still glory in having as little subject to their buffoonery as possible.'

And an interview with the guys. Someone had to do it. And work in a sheep reference somewhere.

By Matt Brito

At first it was the lamb. Then Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings. And now, completing the trilogy of reasons for putting New Zealand on the map is Flight Of The Conchords.

Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement are FOTC, the award winning 'fourth most popular folk parody' duo, currently wowing sell-out audiences at the Edinburgh Festival.

Their debut show at the 2003 Fringe earned them a prestigious Perrier Award nomination and they have also received critical acclaim at the Melbourne and Montreal Comedy Festivals.

Read the whole thing HERE

19.8.04 - Chortle review... We like

The modest brilliance of Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement has firmly, and rightly, established them as festival favourites around the world.

And while Flight Of The Conchords bill themselves as New Zealand's fourth most popular folk parody group, it's not just the music, but also the low-key chit-chat between them that has made their show such a delight.

Their 2004 offering, promising 'all new material, all new banter', starts off as meekly as you could possibly imagine, with the murmured first half-syllable of 'hi' being greeted rapturously. This is an act with a fan base, that's for sure.

Then we're straight into the parodies, and a wonderful song about the social awkwardness of meeting someone you can't quite properly recall, hilariously updating the theme behind Lerner and Loewe's I Remember It Well.

With all the energy of a sloth on dope, the pair then reveal their concern for the Issues, without ever quite divulging what those might be, as an introduction to their socially aware song Think About It, a sublime mix of Aids awareness and funk.

What it demonstrates perfectly is the naivety that permeates their act, the innocence that means however well-meaning their intentions or intense their passions, they lack the nous to capture it in song. That gap between intent and execution is where the comedy lies, and these talented pair mine plenty of it.

Take, for example, their tribute to a lover's beauty, which includes such a list of caveats to make it meaningless, too precisely literal in its lyrics to be romantic.

While the songs are as good as anything they've ever done, some of the talk between the tracks isn't quite up to par. The extracts from a spoof radio sci-fi series don't really work, and we keep having to return to it, and the idea of having their spontaneous audience interaction carefully scripted in a tiny notebook seems tired already.

But these are not major parts of the show, and when they let their music do the talking, they are untouchable and it's for this that the fans come. By Steve Bennett. Chortle review

18.8.04 - Perrier buzz... or lack of it

Article ran today in the Telegraph about possible Perrier Award contenders at the Fringe. Seems the Conchords are Mark Monahan's tip for taking it this year. Apparently lack of buzz abounds on potential noms this year. No one new is catching the eye and the Conchords have been the standout show for Monahan. He says

'I've been recommending Jeremy Lion and Count Arthur Strong, but no act has made me laugh as long or hard as Flight of the Conchords. Their demolition of every pop-music and stand-up convention is so dry, merciless and charming that, this year, there has really been no one to touch them.'

Read the article HERE

16.8.04 - Of cults, Prince and an audience who drank too much...

before seeing the show.

"Looks like wandering acoustic guitar-slingers Flight Of The Conchords aren’t a cult any more – the crowd overspills into the aisle at this year’s show and stomps in and out to the loo throughout the new songs about Wednesday-night sex, mistaken identity and all the “issues” in the world, which could only happen in the mainstream. The problems of increasing fame have in fact been addressed in a blistering new track addressing their vicious, hateful rivals on the folk-parody scene. But they don’t seem to be any less tunefully imaginative. Proper songwriters express their deepest thoughts, Flight Of The Conchords explore their idlest ones from implausible verse to raucous chorus, and the effect is actual delight. If that lost genius Prince ever heard their falsetto love song for a semi-beautiful woman, he would cry purple sequins onto his frock coat, and go back to making great records."

Taken from The Acid Art House, Sunday Herald - Glasgow. By Stephen Phelan

What did we learn here? Well, the guys are mainstream because they have a big(ger) audience who pee alot and Bret can sound a bit Prince like . O and Prince was a genius. And is lost somewhere. If anyone sees him give him a map and a clue so he can find his way back. So kind *sniff*

15.8.04 - Demetri says

Celebrity choice: Demetri Martin, comedian. This ran in the Telegraph

"I did a show with Flight of the Conchords in New York recently, and I love their new songs. Describing them as two guys with guitars doing electronic songs does not do them justice: there's something original and brilliant about how they're funny.

"It's subtle, but it's also committed. Mixing music and comedy is a dangerous recipe, but they pull it off.

11.8.04 - Telegraph review

Edinburgh reports: sonic boomtime. Mark Monahan reviews Flight of the Conchords at Reid Hall and Gary Le Strange at Pod Deco

'If there were an award for driest act on the Fringe, musical parodists Flight of the Conchords would soar away with it.

Like their Edinburgh debut, which went effortlessly on to 2003's Perrier shortlist, the New Zealand singing and guitar-playing duo's follow-up, Lonely Knights, is a deliciously witty tapestry of mickey-taking songs and deadpan banter.' ....... MORE

10.8.04 - Interwesting fings

You may remember last year Brain Logan reviewing/interviewing FoTC during the Fringe. And liking it a lot. This year he saw one of the early shows and his review is up online now. He gives the show 4 out of 5. And what does he say? Well....

Brian Logan - Tuesday August 10, 2004 - The Guardian

'Last year, "New Zealand's fourth most popular folk parody act" were still late-night Fringe underdogs. This year, they are greeted like rock gods. With their superior wordplay, virtuoso musicality and superbly gormless banter, they've taken comedy song to a whole new level. Their latest collection of tunes isn't as spectacularly funny this year, and the venue is more suited to classical music but there's so much right about Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement's act that an hour in their company is still sublime..... [read whole review here]

Flight of the Conchords: Lonely Knights by Fiona Sheperd

How novel - a folk parody duo playing in a traditional (civilised, air-conditioned) folk venue. New Zealand’s Flight of the Conchords were the sweeter gems of last year’s Fringe, the folk parody group you could tell your friends about without ruining your credibility. Now they’re back, still looking like mildly bemused supply teachers, with a virtually all-new set and a hesitant shift of musical direction which they have dubbed Folk ’n’ B.

The judicious use of breathless falsetto opens up a whole new world of ham-fisted seduction, faux romanticism and songs about shagging with your socks on. While they are in a Marvin Gaye frame of mind, they pastiche the protest soul genre with Think About It, Think, Think About It, a song about "issues". Later, they unleash the folk gangster within and experiment with Egyptian-themed dumb show. Crazy times, crazy guys.

Just as funny as the songs are the subtle verbal exchanges between alpha nerd Jemaine and the heroically oblivious Bret, which seems so effortlessly off-the-cuff they must come from precision rehearsal.

Throughout, the humour is gentle and understated, with flashes of outright hilarity.

The possibilities for the Flight of the Conchords’ future artistic direction are boundless. Instead, Bret chooses the "ragga" setting.

9.8.04 Scotman article

The Scotsman ran a nice story about Flight of The Conchords. No longer online so some snippets from it for you anyhoo -

"What we do is what we do," nods McKenzie sagely. "We’re not stand-ups and we’re not musicians. We are this weird in-between space.

"We’ve been working on the show and we’ve tried a few new styles. It’s all new songs and all new banter. I’m not sure what the term for it is in the UK but we have done a tune in a ragga or dancehall style. It’s called ‘She is so hot, boom!’ The punctuation is important."

The Independant ran a good article the other day and FoTC got a mention. *snips* 'As always at the festival, there will also be the usual quirky acts that rely on music (the inspired New Zealand duo, Flight of the Conchords, and Duel, in which a piano and a cello battle it out on stage) or spoof characters (the faux-New Romantic singer Gary Le Strange, or the send-up cabbie-turned-relationship-counsellor Keith Barret); or out-and-out stunts (the self-explanatory Mark Watson's Overambitious 24-Hour Show).' *end snip*

Guardian ran an article. Gave their top 5 Fringe acts to catch. Guess who was listed..... 'The Flight of the Conchords They sing folk songs and come from New Zealand. Yet they could be the best comedy on the fringe.'

Chortle have a bookies betting story up. Someone has put the Conchords joint favourite to win the Perrier award along with Adam Hills. Thing is, it was all set before the Fringe kicked off and who is to say what might happen. We can only wait and see. Read the story HERE

6.8.2004 - Snippets incoming already

And its not even started yet. The Scotsman has an article about ticket sales for this year's Fringe. Quote time 'The Gilded Balloon’s head of press, Fraser Smith, said sales had been "fantastic", with last year’s Perrier nominees Flight of the Conchords selling well.' Read the rest HERE

2003 Fringe news

Perrier Award winner announced...

and its not Flight of the Conchords. Would like to say good on the guys for getting a nomination. And that some of the best (imho) comedians out there never actually won the thing, but were nominated. I think the guys will do just fine keeping on as they are.

On a review note (yes there are more), one from Alex O'Connell at The Times. What can I say except 'Jermaine'? Who he? And ouch 'stoner humour'. Can't please everyone I guess.

Another from the Independant I missed. Was up on 12 August. Mirthful chortling reading '.....the real story is the tension between the pair, or to be strictly accurate, the lack of it. Clement is positively comatose at times, and his robot impression is considerably more animated than his usual state.'

And yes, even the NZ government has something to say on the Flight of the Conchords Perrier nom. Read it at Scoop HERE

Perrier Comedy Awards shortlist is out!

Weds 20 August - And guess who is folking on it! Flight of the Conchords head the list (alphabetical order and all that). Read about it HERE and over at the Perrier site HERE . The BBC website has a page up on the awards and has odds on the Conchords winning at 4-1, go read it HERE

Good on the guys for the nomination!

Conchords are Monahan's choice in the Telegraph

The guys are Mark Monahan's choice for the Perrier Comedy Award it seems. Writing on August 18 in the Telegraph about the possible nominees he says of Flight of the Conchords...

'And so, finally, to Kiwi guitar-playing duo Jermaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, aka Flight of the Conchords. In High on Folk, they demolish virtually every genre of pop music, uttering priceless lines in such quantities that it's hard to know where to start ("How come we've reached this fork in the road," they wail at one point, "and yet it cuts like a knife?"). Lou Reed, Eminem, drippy ballads - little escapes their attention, and, as both musicians and an ultra-dry double act, they're faultless. In fact, Bret and Jermaine would get my vote for the prize, if only for having wilfully invented "folk parody", the most unpromising comic genre imaginable, and honed it to such side-splitting perfection.'

Read the whole Telegraph article HERE

The Guardian ran a snippet about the Perrier noms HERE

Wookyhoo! Itsa another review!

Supersonic Laughs – by James Mullighan

Folk has been the butt of many a joke and these guys see no reason to avoid that – which is something we should be thankful for.

No puns, please, about crashing 1960s aeronautical icons, or about Richard Branson snapping up a fleet of supersonic craft. Were Branson to back this duo, it would be a wise investment. Last year the scruffy New Zealand pair could scarcely get arrested in the Gilded Balloon caves. Now they are the venue’s number one ticket, thanks largely to constant tip-offs from most of the Fringe’s big comics. Read more HERE

Tree huggers unite..... erm.... to hug trees??

Priorities in order here people! Festival hunks? Hotties!?!

Their hot hotnesses are out hotting each other in the hotness stakes of hottiness in the hottie filled city that is (for now at least still) known as Edinburgh. Apparently.

Fest’s Top 5 Festival hunks - 1. Flight of The Conchords

Both of them, although we’re currently fancying the Bret McKenzie half of the Kiwi comedy folk duo most. So lovely are his curly brown locks, unshaven chin and quite frankly orgasmic bone structure, that he’s inspired a whole top five list of hunks (3 & 5 aside) who look, well, a little like him. Dark, dusky, sexy, stubbly blokes are so where it’s at. Especially ones who can play the guitar and do David Bowie impressions. Drool over Flight of the Conchords at the Gilded Balloon Caves until Aug 25.

This snippet ran in the 'fest' paper on Wednesday 13th August. Mucho merriment at that one.

Monsters of.... folk - Guardian interview 12th August

An interview! Jemaine and Bret and talk of being a 'hot ticket' and this year's 'buzz comedy act.' Read it HERE

Right I'll count to 100 Bret and you hide ... 1 2 3...

Guardian review, Thursday August 7th

Now I have to admit I am not usually a reader of this paper. However, while surfing looking for reviews this one sprung up. Snippets such as 'You can't do Proclaimers meets Kraftwerk without musical skill. Clement and McKenzie have that in abundance. And the lyrics are a joy. "How come we've reached a fork in the road, and yet it cuts like a knife?" sings Clement. And "Why can't a heterosexual guy tell a heterosexual guy that his booty is fly?" ' make it a worthwhile browse. One reviewer impressed! Many more to go :)

Read it in full HERE

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New stuff

WTF! Conchords tees available

WTF Conchords tee shirt

WTF! Discussion forum - Still open, online and active - Visit it here


2010 Tour poster gallery online 

Twitter - What The Folk!

Order season 2 Amazon US & Amazon UK

Flight of The Conchords - Season 2 DVD

Order S1 DVD or Amazon UK

Eagle vs Shark from or Amazon UK

Eagle vs Shark US DVD cover

Find other Conchords CD's and DVD's here


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