Flight Of The Conchords: Lonely Knights

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

The modest brilliance of Bret McKenzie and Jermaine Clement has firmly, and rightly, established them as festival favourites around the world.

And while Flight Of The Conchords bill themselves as New Zealand's fourth most popular folk parody group, it's not just the music, but also the low-key chit-chat between them that has made their show such a delight.

Their 2004 offering, promising 'all new material, all new banter', starts off as meekly as you could possibly imagine, with the murmured first half-syllable of 'hi' being greeted rapturously. This is an act with a fan base, that's for sure.

Then we're straight into the parodies, and a wonderful song about the social awkwardness of meeting someone you can't quite properly recall, hilariously updating the theme behind Lerner and Loewe's I Remember It Well.

With all the energy of a sloth on dope, the pair then reveal their concern for the Issues, without ever quite divulging what those might be, as an introduction to their socially aware song Think About It, a sublime mix of Aids awareness and funk.

What it demonstrates perfectly is the naivety that permeates their act, the innocence that means however well-meaning their intentions or intense their passions, they lack the nous to capture it in song. That gap between intent and execution is where the comedy lies, and these talented pair mine plenty of it.

Take, for example, their tribute to a lover's beauty, which includes such a list of caveats to make it meaningless, too precisely literal in its lyrics to be romantic.

While the songs are as good as anything they've ever done, some of the talk between the tracks isn't quite up to par. The extracts from a spoof radio sci-fi series don't really work, and we keep having to return to it, and the idea of having their spontaneous audience interaction carefully scripted in a tiny notebook seems tired already.

But these are not major parts of the show, and when they let their music do the talking, they are untouchable ­ and it's for this that the fans come.

Review date: 1 Jan 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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