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Flight of the Conchords in Concert

Kiwi Cable Series Goes on Tour

Above: The Flight of the Conchords on HBO

Since I don't have cable, I tend to discover some things late. Like Flight of the Conchords. The HBO series starring the Grammy Award-winning New Zealand comedy duo of Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement had been on the air almost an entire season before a friend of mine clued me in on how funny the show was. Billing themselves as "Formerly New Zealand's fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo accapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo," Flight of the Conchords served up the driest of dry humor in both a BBC radio series and then the HBO show. I had experienced Clement's deadpan comedy in the Kiwi comedy Eagle Vs. Shark, about a pair of inept young people who manage to hook up romantically. Flight of the Conchords maintained a similar deadpan style and some people, not willing to watch closely enough, might have missed some of the jokes altogether. One of the highlights of the series was the musical numbers. These music videos ranged from David Bowie rip offs to DIY special effects with cardboard robots. Since the music was so funny in the series I was intrigued to hear that they would be playing in concert. But I did have to wonder if the humor that worked in the show would work in a concert environment. That remains to be seen but it seems definitely worth the gamble. McKenzie and Clement reveal a knack for witty observations and deadpan irony. I'm also wondering if Murray (their dauntless manager) will be out front hawking band swag. I'll let you know.

The first season of the series is currently available on DVD with the second season coming out on August 4.

Comments

Avatar for user 'MattthewCScallon'

MattthewCScallon | May 21, 2009 at 10:12 a.m. ― 5 years, 6 months ago

Even though I had cable for two years beforehand, it took my little sister's visit from Chicago --where, like many Chicagoans, she had no cable-- to get tuned into FOTC. How she got to know about them without actually getting HBO had better wait until the statute of limitation expires, but, in any event, we laughed our faces off!

Maybe it's my love of music. Maybe, as a musician, I saw that the on-screen perfomances matched the notes being played --a pet peeve of mine and the reason that the bass player in "Mo' Better Blues" ruined that movie for me. But more than anything, they strike a wonderful balance between homage and parody in performing across so many musical genres. My favorite is their break into soundtrack music from 70's French farce movies (or do you say, "le cinema," ha-ha-ha-ha-ha?) with all of the lyrics coming from quasi-French idioms ("crepe suzette...ala mode").

Although the second season is the weaker of the two, I like how they put a period on the end of the series. Although, knowing Bret and Jermaine as I'd like to think I do; they may just find a way back to that studio apartment and their one coffee cup.

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Avatar for user 'Beth Accomando'

Beth Accomando, KPBS Staff | May 22, 2009 at 11:56 a.m. ― 5 years, 6 months ago

The concert was great! In some ways better than the show. They were great improvising between songs and engaging the audience. Murray unfortunately was not there selling swag but he should have been. There was only one table and an immense line going out the building and moving slowly.

At one point Jemaine came out and did something of a lap dance for one woman in the front row and then apologized and said it was just him being his character -- a character based on him. It was that kind of playfulness that made the show fun-- and of course the witty lyrics and music.

Glad to hear you're a fan.

Beth

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