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The Brunettes Augment ‘Structure’ on Stage

How is a New Zealander two-piece to avoid Flight of the Conchords comparisons? One remedy would be to expand beyond a duo, and that’s the approach the Brunettes took as they strolled into the Troubadour last night (Sept. 13). L.A.-based songster Ferraby Lionheart served a minimalist opening set, which included select gems from his latest offering, Catch the Brass Ring. While some of the tunes may have suffered from the lack of an actual piano at first, the keyboard-driven “The Car Maker” fixed all that with its show-stopping melancholic sweetness.

The Brunettes, fleshed out to a sextet, pulled out every musical stop except the organ itself. Out of a seemingly bottomless bag of instruments was grabbed a trumpet, a sax, a clarinet, and all manner of quirky percussion pieces. The shiny, happy sing-along “Brunettes Against Bubblegum Youth” (or “B.A.B.Y.”), complete with Y.M.C.A.-like choreography, opened the near-90 minute show. Debuting select songs from their forthcoming album, Structure and Cosmetics, Jonathan Bree and Heather Mansfield’s dreamy pop vocals were delightfully twee, particularly on the pretty ’60s pop sonics of “If You Were Alien.” Brett and Jemaine, we barely knew you.

We asked: The first single off the Brunettes’ new album, Structure & Cosmetics, is entitled “Her Hairagami Set.” As a child, what was your favorite toy that involved creating or building something?