Flight of the Conchords jokingly call themselves “New Zealand’s fourth most popular guitar-based digi-bongo accapella-rap-funk-comedy folk duo.” But their live show Tuesday night at Miami’s 8,000-capacity BankUnited Center proved they’re no less than No. 1 to their cult-like U.S. fan base — and for good reason.
The twosome — Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie, who are best know for their HBO TV series The Flight of the Conchords — took the stage in homemade robot getups (cardboard-box heads and Mylar jogging-suit tops) and busted out “Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor.” The low-rent electro-house song, complete with build-up and breakdown, was a perfect opening to a hilarious show.
Then off came the costumes. And for the next 90 minutes, Clement and McKenzie played acoustic guitars on stripped-down renditions of tracks from their 2008 self-titled Sub Pop debut, which won a Grammy for Best Comedy Album, and their upcoming effort, I Told You I Was Freaky (a release date is TBD).
The guys never broke the characters they play on TV: The hunched-shouldered Clement appeared in his full denim suit, while McKenzie dutifully played the rumpled, hapless, and shy heartthrob. At one point a zealous audience member near the front unfurled a sign in his direction, proposing marriage. McKenzie politely declined, explaining that they’d then have to invite everyone present to the wedding.
Fans of the TV show were ecstatic over the opening act, too — a stream-of-consciousness comedic monologue by Kristen Schaal, who plays Mel, the band’s biggest (well, only) groupie. Schaal as a stage comedian is still much like Mel: bug-eyed, spaced out, and hung up on a series of fictional personal dramas at which the audience is invited to openly laugh. At one point, for instance, she presented a brief one-act play centering around an anthropomorphic wooden spoon erotically stirring a pot. Ewwwww…
But fans were clearly there for Flight of the Conchords. Their most riotously received numbers were those featured on the TV show — especially those from the first few episodes of the first season. “I’m Not Crying,” a defiant explanation for facial precipitation, brought the house down, as did “Business Time,” a tragicomic recounting of a married couple’s Wednesday-night sexual encounter.
Also, there was the ludicrous “rap” song “Hurt Feelings,” which rhymed “asshole” with “casserole,” and the crowd-inclusive “Jenny,” during which the audience and McKenzie sang a chorus in the role of all of Clement’s ex-girlfriends.
The gig closed out with “Bowie.” One of the oldest Flight of the Conchords songs, it distills everything the duo does best, with its funny accents, witty wordplay, and dead-on impersonation of one of music’s most distinct stylists.
“Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor”
“The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room”
“The Ballad of Stana”
“Carol Brown (Stick Around)”
“I’m in Love With a Sexy Lady”
“Bus Driver’s Song”
“I’m Not Crying”
“You Don’t Have to Be a Prostitute”
“Think About It”