Written By Michael Wood Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
Flight Of The Conchords at Apollo, Manchester
There is a curiosity about New Zealand's world conquering Flight Of The Conchords which alienates as many as it enamours and it is that oddity is the heart of the Jermaine Clements and Bret McKenzie's performance at Manchester's Apollo.
The pair arrive to the stage in a blister of flashes wearing roughly hewn cardboard Robot helmets and hammer though fast tempo tune Too Many Dicks On the Dancefloor at a pace which lets any number of lyrical puns fly by and for a moment one is watching a band, playing music, which could be about anything. Moments later when settled onto stools and holding a pair of guitars they are telling self-depreciating stories about failure with various girls and at a few of life's minor activities.
It is observational comedy set to music and it works very well. A song like Foux du Fafa is smart enough to swerve away from poking fun at the French into amusing itself at the expense of those who put on an air of false sophistication, attention is required to note the difference. Songs like Business Time are greeted as crowd pleasers and the meaning seems to be lost.
When Conchords are best though is in the hard luck story set to music - real music not the whistles and bells of novelty - and in songs Carol Brown they have a template for a kind of humour which is enjoyable on both levels, as a song and an observation. It is bittersweet, for sure, but it is both funny and a song.
A rare combination.