On HBO’s series “Flight of the Conchords,” there are never fans shouting out requests. Or ladies offering themselves up, the way they do to Bret Michaels on “Rock of Love.” And the Conchords’ songs themselves are purposefully absurd in a way that celebrates rock cliches as well as the duo’s day-to-day struggles, namely finding an identity that suits them.
In real life, the Conchords — Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie — now have to deal with their new found fame: Girls do throw themselves at the pair and choruses of requests echo loudly through the duration of their sets. But it hasn’t gone to their heads, at least not
yet on the second stop of their short tour at New York’s Town Hall on May 6.
The stage was set up with an amp between two stools. Guitar cases and a few, small portable keyboard instruments were placed around Clement and McKenzie. They started out a bit shaky, opening with the ode to urban life, “Inner City Pressure.” The house lights were purposefully turned down low, casting a “serious” tone, as they detailed the “pressures” of the city. When the lights revealed them, they looked almost scared, hardly making eye contact. But this is how they should act, because that’s exactly how the TV characters they play would act if they hit the big time.
After long stretches of stage banter infused with nervous energy, the Conchords became increasingly comfortable over the course of the hour and forty five minute set. Once Clement took the lead on the new tune “Stick Around,” the rousing applause gave them the confidence they needed. They also showed off a few new arrangements — “Motherauckers” was slowed down and made more funky, and “Hiphopapotamus vs. Rhymenocerous” was delivered without any overt drum beats.
Highlights of the show included “If You’re Into It,” which McKenzie confessed they hadn’t played in over a year, as well as “Jenny,” the nearly spoken word tune about a confusing, awkward romantic encounter.
Only during one moment was the duo’s schtick acknowledges: McKenzie referred to the Conchords’ “musical comedy” and the benefits that they’ve been privy to including ladies lining up after shows to kiss them. It was a perfect segue into “A Kiss Is Not A Contract.”
As musical comedy, Flight of the Conchords have an engaging live show. They kept it simple, delivered new songs and interacted heavily with the audience. The result was a set that more like an actual concert and less like an act – which paradoxically, is exactly what it was.