Flight of the Conchords at Milton Keynes Theatre
“Hello again, Milton. We are on first-name terms now, right?”
Jemaine Clement – one half of singing comedy duo Flight of the Conchords – reintroduces himself warmly to the Milton Keynes crowd after an interval that couldn’t be over too soon. As he and the wonderfully deadpan Bret McKenzie launch into yet another jaw-achingly funny anecdote, it is clear that the remarkable chemistry between the pair extends far beyond their songs. It has been nearly ten years since the second series of their hit eponymous musical sitcom graced UK screens, and yet despite the hiatus, their irresistible Kiwi charm is as disarming as ever.
The band open the gig with one of their newer numbers Father and Son, a slow, soulful and touching tribute to a modern broken family which is performed with hysterical comic timing, each revelation bringing on waves of laughter from the audience. And from then on, the musicians ride atop a steady tsunami of their own making. Summer of 1353 is certainly a high-point in their setlist. After informing the concert-goers that this piece has been popular in Britain so far because as a nation we are “into recorders”, they proceed to prove their point by wooing the theatre with a series of rock ’n’ roll solos on the beloved instrument. The Ballad of Stana whisks us far away to the Wild West in a hilarious take on the macho cowboy tale, while The Seagull offers a refreshingly un-aesthetic mockery of romantic musical metaphors. Another highlight is Chips and Dips, a song about the stars’ insatiable appetite for throwing wild parties – as long as the guests use a coaster, thank you very much. Their constant insistence that they are rebellious provides a running joke throughout the show, and delivered in their understated, monotone New Zealand accents, it certainly hits the mark.
As well as delighting us with less familiar material, the band also play to the nostalgia of the fans, performing and revamping old classics such as Innercity Pressure – a parody of The Pet Shop Boys – and Bowie – a timely tribute to the late musical pioneer. These songs are just a small sample of their diverse repertoire which – along with the sheer variety of instruments surrounding them on stage – confirm their status as genuinely talented and versatile musicians. On top of giving a brilliant rendition of I’ve Got Hurt Feelings, blended artfully into rap masterclass Muther‘uckas, the band restart the favourite Foux Du Fafa at least three times after McKenzie accidentally knocks the drum machine – which only adds to the comedy value.
Though loyal followers of the band may have been disappointed to miss out on tickets for the UK tour, the good news is that Flight of the Conchords are back with a one hour TV special in May, which will feature some of their new tracks. Indeed, watching the band sign off with a rousing rendition of The Humans are Dead, one gets the impression that these two humans are still very much alive and kicking.
For further information and future events visit Flight of the Conchords’s website here.