When the news that the almost award-winning fourth-most-popular folk duo in New Zealand was returning for a string of live dates last year, the net blew up. Like any cult favorite, the idea of seeing a rare live performance was a tantalizing prospect, especially when it comes with a side of belly laughs.
Originally filmed for a HBO special, 'Live in London' once more shows that Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie are just as impressive sans visuals. While anecdotes about rock 'n' roll complimentary muffins bring plenty of charm, it's the numbers that help this confidently feel like a musical masterclass rather than purely a comedic one.
Fan favorites such as 'Inner City Pressure' and 'Foux du Fafa' naturally make an appearance, getting some extra juice thanks to audience appreciation. 'Mutha'uckas' and 'Hurt Feelings' are meshed together brilliantly, McKenzie whipping out an operatic finish that no one would see coming.
Still, after such a long absence its the new material that truly hits the spot. While the likes of Tenacious D have always struggled with the balancing act between genuinely impressive rock numbers and self-parody, The Conchords' exhaustive knowledge of musical genre and cues helps guarantee a set that constantly surprises.
There aren't many acts out there which can deliver a medieval love song as seen in the recorder soloing 'Summer of 1353' before entering Gun Club territory on the nine-minute epic 'Stana.' Equally, highlight 'Seagull,' McKenzie's ode to the chip stealing nemesis, reaches another level thanks to Clement's deadpan analysis of his ridiculous lyrics.
We promise it's the only album you'll hear this year where the crowd of the Hammersmith Apollo sing along by cawing. Madness.
Nearly a decade since their beloved program ended, 'Live in London' see as duo with chemistry stronger than ever. Let's just hope their busy schedules make room for the long-rumoured movie. If their past work is anything to go on, it will be gold.
Words: Sam Walker-Smart
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