Flight of the Conchords @ Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 14/07/12
Review: Dave Zwolenski
Amidst the swarm of cardigan dressed, thick glasses-wearing punters it was hard to tell if Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement weren’t actually somewhere in the audience. Fans flocked to see Flight of the Conchords and everyone in the audience knew why they were there. Because Flight of the Conchords are New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk comedy duo.
To the crowd’s appreciation, the pair had brought a very special guest along for the ride - long time comedy addition Arj Barker, who some may recall as Dave from the TV show that projected FOTC (as they’re endearingly known) to superstardom. Warming the crowd up with the lackadaisical enthusiasm he’s known for, Barker seemed genuinely excited to be able to open for his buddies and his relaxed vibe spread through the crowd.
When FOTC came on stage, the cheers and applause were heart-warming and welcoming. These guys are like family to many, and like family they were treated. Opening with a crowd favourite, “Too Many Dicks (On The Dance Floor)”, their silver homemade helmets brought smiles to the thousands seated at MCEC. Fans of the HBO series who were hanging to hear their favourites were not disappointed either, with songs ranging from the ballad of “Most Beautiful Girl In The Room” to "Hiiphopopotamus Vs Rhymenoceros".
Scattered between the classics were some new songs too, which Clement and McKenzie preceded with the disclaimer that, as these were new songs, if “the audience could be accepting, that would be nice”. The fact that they both mucked their lines up and had to restart the chorus several times over during the performance only added to the hilarity of the pair, whose awkward, unassuming style has remained consistent throughout their careers. It was as if the two friends were jamming in their bedrooms and we happened to be invited in to witness them amusing themselves.
Even if you did know every lyric to every song, word for word, as many in the crowd did, the most memorable aspect to the show was the banter between McKenzie and Clement. Clearly scripted, but with an improvisational element to their interactions, they made it feel as if they were telling us their stories for the first time. From their rock and roll lifestyle of getting free muffins to their passion for whales (or as Clement calls them, “the elephants of the sea”), their endearing banter and hilariously crafted songs brought nothing but laughter from an appreciative crowd. At certain points the pair would even make themselves giggle with their own absurd comments, which, as any viewer of the HBO series will attest, is a beautiful thing to watch from such dry comics.