Flight of the Conchords, Hammersmith Apollo, London

3.00

Dulcet duo in pretty fine feather

The return of the musical comedy act Flight of the Conchords to the UK after five years has been described as a much-needed respite to the "outrageous politicking" of the post-general election period. Perhaps, more positively, one might suggest that, like our coalition leaders, the Conchords are two hopeful young men who also once had a big idea. In the Conchords' case, their idea has grown from performing it in small rooms in their native New Zealand, and at the Edinburgh Fringe, to having it turned into a cult HBO comedy series and into best-selling albums and tours.

Whether Messrs Clegg and Cameron will make beautiful music together in politics remains to be seen, but Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement have, without doubt, topped the musical comedy poll to levels only previously witnessed with Spinal Tap. With their often well-honed musical pastiches, the Conchords have the best of both worlds in terms of putting on part-pop concert, part-comedy shows – and therefore can tap into energy denied to most stand-ups. That said, only a handful of tunes stand out tonight as truly memorable after what is a marathon show.

Like their in-between song banter the Conchords' musical stylings are subtle, gentle comedy, all set to a largely acoustic soundtrack. Among the Conchords barnstormers are the self-explanatory homage "Bowie", that makes particular reference to "Space Oddity" ("Is it cold out in space Bowie?/ You can borrow my jumper if you like Bowie"), and "Inner City Pressure", the shameless riff on The Pet Shop Boys' seminal "West End Girls" ("You know you're not in high finance/ considering second hand underpants"). Meanwhile, the unplugged back catalogue that generally does not ape a song or band quite so slavishly includes "The Most Beautiful Girl in The Room" and the Belle and Sebastian-esque "Ex-Girlfriends" ("You could've mentioned you were a she-male in your first email").

The collection of anthems and whimsy is brought to a close with a salvo of songs that distil the essence of the gig like a highlights package. It includes slower-paced songs (in this case "Bus Driver's Song"), high-energy numbers, like the mock R&B tune "Sugarlumps", and a song that weaves in all their previous, and deliberately mundane, anecdotes about being on tour and thereby gives them a much-needed raison d'être – a long time to wait for a payoff, though. As with The Mighty Boosh, the charm of the two performers goes a long way to winning the audience round, keeping their interest until they are rewarded with a deft touch amidst the sometimes slight build up.

It's doubtful that the fans tonight, who include parents and their young children, will worry too much that the gig is overlong as most are too busy guessing what the next song is from the first couple of bars played. The Conchords will only re-inforce their status with this show even if it could have been cut into a much tighter "greatest hits" package.





Touring to 25 May ( Flightoftheconchords.co.nz)

Arts and Entertainment

Will Poulter will play the shape-shifting monsterfilm
Arts and Entertainment

books
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Hollywood

'Whether he left is almost immaterial'TV
Arts and Entertainment

game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers

Arts and Entertainment
The original Star Wars trio of Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill

George Osborne confirms Star Wars 8 will film at Pinewood Studios in time for 4 May

film

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before