Conchords in flying form

Duo take audience on journey through the ages

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 09:20 17/06/2012
Flight of the concords
GRAHAME COX / Fairfax NZ

FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS: Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie at the Auckland Town Hall last night.

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From the distant future - the year 2000, to the more innocent time of 1353 - the Flight of the Conchords took its vocal Auckland audience on a journey through the ages.

Kiwi comedy folk duo Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie kicked off electro-pop disco beat 'Too Many Dicks on the Dancefloor', complete with high-tech sound effects and a cameo rap from their good friend and American TV co-star Dave Mohumbhai aka Arj Barker. The tune brought immediate cheers mingled with laughter from the hundreds of vocal fans gathered in the Auckland Town Hall.

Donning cardboard box hats, Clement and McKenzie cleverly swivelled their headgear around to reveal silver aluminium foil robot hats which matched their shiny shirts for their classic futuristic tune 'Humans are Dead'. "We got the idea from Gaga," they said of the costume change.

Another quick change saw the boys swap into simple, colourful plaid shirts and receive a wipe down from 'Matt the hairdresser turned sound technician', and the boys were on to tales "from the road".

After making a name for themselves in the US with their HBO TV series, and performances in the likes of Hollywood Bowl, New York's Radio City Music Hall and London's Wembley Arena, the boys are now making their way around the country for a long-awaited home tour.

"We'd love to stay in Auckland but we can't. Well, if we'd love to stay in Auckland, we actually would, but then we wouldn't be on a tour, we'd just be in Auckland."

With stories of finding groupies passed out with goldfish, getting stuck in an elevator for hours "and missing a show, not this show, another show", along with endless complimentary hotel room muffins - the duo
are proof they have hit the big time.

"This is rock and roll", they say of their get up and quirky on-stage antics.

A bevy of instruments came out to play, from the more basic pieces - the triangle, xylophone and recorder - to the wazinator and a cello which is beautifully performed by Nigel Collins from the "New Zealand Symphony Orchestra", or as McKenzie called it - the "New Zealand Sympathy Orchestra".

The Conchords treated fans to a mix of old and new favourites - with Clement in his storyteller's voice for Albi the Racist Dragon, and McKenzie getting into female character for French ditty 'Foux Du Fafa' and summer of 1353 hit 'Woo a Lady'.

The tempo was repeatedly pushed up and brought back down again for intimate guitar tunes, albeit with plenty of false starts and audience interjections. The synthesiser came out for '80's groove 'Inner City Pressure' before dropping down for 'I'm Not Crying' and dramatically picking up again for bass-heavy, mandolin-driven 'She's So Hot, Boom'.

At one point Clement picked up the song list sheet, scratching his head. "We're trying to bring it down but it just keeps going up and up," he exclaimed to a round of cheers. "It's just classic hit after classic hit," McKenzie agreed.

And the crowd lapped it up, from lyrics about David Bowie's "pointy nipples as space antennae" and "smoking Astroturf" to the antics of the Hippopopotamus and Rhymenoceros - "my rhymes are so potent that in this small segment, I made all of the ladies in the area pregnant".

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The disco ball came down and Barry White ala Jermaine Clement crooned out 'Business Time' before the lights dimmed and the boys emerged donning sparkly silver spandex singlets. But it didn't stop there. To screams of laughter the duo cheekily ripped of their pants to reveal full leotards, which they paired with flowing capes, wings and a bright red guitar to rock out 'Demon Woman'.

Cheers and drumming feet saw the pair return for an encore which included the hilarious tale of misadventure that is 'We're Both in Love with a Sexy Lady', before swaying out to the innuendo song of the night 'Sugar Lumps'.

For almost two hours of stop-start, awkwardly funny, chaotic entertainment, FOTC ensured there was never really a dull moment.

FOTC play at Auckland's Vector Arena on June 29 and July 1, tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

- Auckland Now

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