Tonight is the first in a row of two sell out shows in Manchester for New Zealand's "fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo acapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo", the Flight Of The Conchords. Since their TV show aired over here the duo has dramatically taken off to a high cult status. The show is funny no doubt, with Murray their useless manager and Eugene Mirman as their landlord (opening the show tonight), but it's live where they excel.
Coming onto the stage wearing white boxes on their heads they kick straight into 'Robots' and the funny 'Too Many Dicks (On the Dance Floor)'. The show is made up of songs, then talking, and as Bret puts it "maybe song then song, or talking than talking, but that will appear to be one long talking part"... Such is the FOTC's humour, pondering on the fact just stated. The staccato 'Hurt Feelings' and a story about a Tuba player follow, but the show picks up pace from there on.
'Jenny' is a good example of the duo's conversational type of song delivery; it cant be easy to fit these lyrics / natterings into a song, let alone remember them all! There are no new tracks, only songs from their self-titled and 'I Told You I Was Freaky' albums.
'Let's Get Freaky' is a really funky number, with Bret McKenzie (Brit!) taking in the high notes and Jermaine Clement doing a great Barry White voice. They also try a Mancunian voice, where Bret's sounds Liverpudlian and Jermaine, especially noticeable during the amazing 'Albi The Racist Dragon' (which is requested) turns Albi's voice into a Yorkshireman!
The Medieval sounding 'Woo A lady' is yet again hilarious, and even though Jermaine cocks up a few lyrics his quick witted addition of "Nothing!" amuses the sell out crowd. The odd hecklers are put down easy enough, though the constant bellows from one man cause Jermaine to reply "shut up"...
Talk on the stage consists of many things, like eating muffins, acid time travel tripping ("Lick the [merchandise] posters, but don't have a full one") and creating depressing lighting "that looks like candles" for 'Not Crying'. The talk of points to address, like war ("What is it good for"), famine and politics (we are told of our new prime minister by the guys whilst the show is on as it is announced, to a huge boo!) the topic goes onto saving the whales, who should have mobile phones but cant use them as they have no fingers or ears the comedy can be seen as childish, but looking around the broad mix of crowd members, some in Spiderman and other costumes, the comedy is just the right level for everyone.
There is an odd part where Jermaine goes for a 'nap' and Bret sings a Korean ditty about dancing ('Korean Karaoke') complete with sing-along screens. It is a good job these screens are up and filming the guys throughout, otherwise those of us at the back would not be able to see anything in this quite large venue.
'Bowie In Space' shows the guys pull of their clothes to reveal Bowie spangly outfits (and a windswept look scarf), and the talk of Bret going back in time and teaching Bowie his hits from his own song book! They then proceed to 'smash' (but not actually damage) their instruments up in slow motion after 'Demon Woman'.
For the encore Jermaine has trouble re-applying his trousers, and gives up towards the end. The biggest hit of the night is 'It's Business Time', followed by the tale of a stalker in 'Bus Driver's Song', the RnB style of 'We're Both In Love With A Sexy Lady'. Well, RnB folk style! The lads have it all in there, Rnb folk, gangster folk, soft folk, funky folk, 70's rock folk, all types of folk you never knew existed!
The show is brought to a close with 'Sugarlumps', a loose working on the Black Eyed Peas 'My Humps', about testicles and their size. They even come into the crowd and ad lib with a guy's crotch and a lady who they worry will want to touch their "sugarlumps". Hilarious.
If they were lesser musicians this whole thing would not work, but both performers are exceptional singers creating crazy harmonies, great multi-talented instrumentalists and warm showmen with great comedic views on life. I have only watched a few episodes of the TV series, but I can tell you to watch them live as they are much more fun that way.
Too Many Dicks (On the Dance Floor)
Ladies Of The World
I Told You I Was Freaky
Woo A Lady
Think About It
Albi The Racist Dragon
Foux du Fafa
Bowie In Space
It's Business Time
Bus Driver's Song
We're Both In Love With A Sexy Lady