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When Matt told me about a new show on HBO called Flight of the Conchords, I didn't get in my car, drive home and set the Tivo.  Matt has never recommended any good movies, shows or cds.

But, one night soon after, my husband and I were channel surfing and there they were:  Bret and Jemaine, struggling musicians from New Zealand with their manager Murray, whose real job is a low level position at a NZ travel agency.  Their fan club consists of one married borderline stalker and their gigs are scarce and usually unattended. 

Any attempt to describe them would be a disservice, even if it were possible, as the magic lies in the chemistry between these two and their wonder-filled, unassuming and inimitable approach to life.  They are triers, constantly knocked down by reality and the impossibility of their dreams, which range from becoming famous to getting a date.  We may not relate to them in the "clissic" sense of the word, (after all they are far more clueless, yet somehow simultaneously way cooler than we are) but we can revel in the concoction they've created - a mix of absurdity and imagination, spirit and hilarity.

Last night the line between fantasy and reality blurred as Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement played Los Angeles in the second of two sold-out shows at the Orpheum Theatre.  Tickets with a $32 face value were offered for up to $550 an hour before the show started.   With a modest fold-up table between their two barstools, Bret and Jemaine Clement gave a garage-style concert lasting two full hours, to a house of 2,000 that clearly adored them.  They talked on top of each other and with us and fumbled as they moved from one instrument to the next.  For two guys who's opening number is a song in which they pretend to be robots, they are delightfully human.

Anyone who was at that show is probably in their office right now, trying unsuccessfully to tell a co-worker the funniest parts of the show.  But it doesn't work...unless they're doing it. 

Clearly they have an act, as of yet unpolished, thankfully.  We still don't know who they really are.  And maybe that mystery is part of it...maybe we don't want to know.  We are still in the blissful infatuation stage.  But the more they show us,  the closer we move to love. 

Now that they're here, the fear is that the industry will blow them up to mega-stardom, grab all the money, and disappear with it while our heroes fade back into New Zealand oblivion.  But the industry's got their hands full this time because you can't label the Conchords.  You can't put them in a box, and hopefully you can't exploit an audience who loves them because they are everything that Hollywood is not.  They are authentic. 

In these watered-down times, it rarely happens, but it sure is fun to have to run as fast as you can to keep up…and to be out of breath from laughter as you go… 

Welcome to Hollywood, Bret and Jemaine - we've been waiting for you since before we knew your names.

Flight of the Conchords has already won a Grammy this year for Best Comedy Album of the Year.  Good on ya!  Their new full length self-titled cd, just released, is even better.

--by Delight Underwood

Visit FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS myspace or the band website to find out more! Or watch some clips on youtube!


 


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