Flight of the Conchords @ Hammersmith Apollo

Kiwi Splendour – Jemaine & Bret in action (more pics)

From the very first moment that Bret & Jemaine, better known as Flight of the Conchords, took to the packed, ecstatic crowd at Hammersmith Apollo we knew we were in for a treat. Sporting home-made cardboard box heads the expectation was for We are Robots, but instead they launched straight into Too Many Dicks (On the Dancefloor), giving Arj Baker – Dave from the show & tonight’s support – the chance to show his rap chops. The crowd lapped it up and every other classic song the Kiwi duo rolled out, whether they were pitch perfect or slightly off with hilarious recovery. One surprise though was quite how potent Jemaine is. That man can deliver an accent, and a sexy pose, like no-one else in comedy today – with the possible exception of Matt Berry. Even Bret’s talented musical delivery & banter seemed sometimes to be playing second fiddle to the ‘llama faced’ god.

All the crowd pleasers had been delivered by the end of the almost two hour set, no mean feat when you’re two guys on stage all the time. We Are Robots (with Jemaine’s amazing Schwartzenegger impersonation), Hurt Feelings, Woo Song, Business Time, Carol Brown (with Bret as all the exes) and a finale of epic mock-rock God proportions with Bowie and finally Sugalumps. Boy, did they give us sugalumps. Especially the lucky front row who received Bret in full effect as he clambered into the crowd. In between the fan friendly songs the guys took time to regale us with stories from their tour, involving the hilarity of muffins and elevators delivered with deadpan perfection.

A perfect night, with the only downside being the ridiculous difficulty in getting tickets when they first went on sale. I believe the gig sold out in three minutes, not helped by a ‘maximum’ of six tickets per person. Six! By the 5th gig the Conchords announced the guys had sensibly started asking for photo ID and will-call picket for everyone, but this was for Wembley Arena rather than the relative intimacy of Hammersmith. Something really needs to be done about the touts scalping their profits, not only the ones outside, but the corporate off-shoots of companies such as TicketMaster who encourage people to tout and re-sale tickets to profit from real fans. ID pickup is likely the best solution and it really can work, as I saw earlier in the month at Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace gig in New York. That aside, the extra money spent was worthwhile (see, I’m part of the problem…) I just wish it had gone to the men who deserved it.

The Conchords gave us an amazing night and showed us that New Zealand isn’t all Hobbits. There are Elves and Maoris as well. Sexy ones at that.

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