Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Flight of the Conchords at NYC Town Hall

So, against the wishes of my mum and her boss and all the lovely people who have my best interests at heart, I went along to the Flight of the Conchords gig last night. How could I not? I have been obsessing about these boys since a little article in the Guardian tv guide piqued my interest many months ago. Seeing them was the thing I was most excited about doing during my time in New York. In fact, there are those who have suggested that my entire motivation for coming to New York was to see Bret and Jemaine in all their sexy, beardy, low-key, funkalicious glory. That may or may not be true, I'm not prepared to comment.

And anyway, I already missed out on Feist, whom I had tickets to see last week. Damned appendicitis, derailing my 3-month non-stop NY fun-fest.

The crowd was mostly made up of blokes, interestingly, in pairs or small clusters, who were dressed like their heroes - lots of checked shirts, retro t-shirts and quirky glasses. Geek chic, which is the new look I am rockin' in my specs (the need for which I really can't deny any longer), was the overall vibe. One girl even yelled out a request for the "Binary Solo!" - now if that girl is not at one with her geekiness, I don't know who is. It was basically a big love-in really, with various female audience members shouting out their adoration for one or the other of the pair throughout the night. At one point Bret felt there was too much attention being paid to him, and not enought to Jemaine, so he got all the blokes in the hall to yell out "I love you Jemaine." And they did!

This is a new era, people, one where a heterosexual guy can tell a heterosexual guy that he thinks his booty is fly.* But still not one where it's ok for a bloke to cry.

It was a very lovely, friendly atmosphere, with Bret and Jemaine their typically laidback, understated, unpresuming selves - Bret so much so that at one point he made a little tent from his guitar cases and laid down after professing to feeling a little bit tired. Jemaine brought his mike over and attended to him like a gentle uncle with a nephew worn out from all the excitement of the day.

The duo ("we're a band, if you can have a one-man-band and a band with 3 people, we are definitely a band") played some well-loved songs from the TV show - Rhymenocerous probably got the biggest reaction, but Robots was also a crowd-pleaser - as well as some very cool new stuff, with lots of laidback observations in between. As with many of their songs (apart from the odd theme song or heavenly daydream), there were lots of slightly love-lorn odes about girl problems. There was one in which Jemaine does a roll-call of all his ex-girlfriends and what went wrong ("Flo had to go, Stephanie pulled a Persephone"), before asking whose idea it was for all his ex-girlfriends to get together and form a choir. They finished with a slightly tragic story of a local tour guide and the object of his affections.

I think the 'chords are part of a new wave of comedy. Low-key, sweet and very funny in a very gentle way, marked by a more imaginative and fantastical sense of creativity than the previous cocaine-fuelled ego-maniacs and world-weary cynics of yore. Bravo, boys.

*Jemaine proceeded to explain that "putting a wig on you" is some kind of jive talk which shows your respect for the other person, as in "I dig you brother! I put a wig on you! I put a big blonde wig right on you!"

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