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Folking Around

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Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 11:24 PM

Flight of the Conchords

Amoeba Records in-store, April 24

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Clement (left) and McKenzie

There’s a lot of l’amour in this room tonight. The racks of CDs and LPs are sandwiched left and right with the faithful, who know every lyric and are toting signage of such desirous dedication as “Brit Bret, Will You Take Me To the Prom?” and the immortal “You’re So Hot, You’re Making Me Sexist.” Amoeba’s in-store performance for Flight of the Conchords’ debut LP is veritable fandemonium; it’s a long cry from the usual scenario on their HBO series, where they’re usually stuck in the corner of a dark basement New York club strumming to the delight of Mel (Kristen Schaal), their one and only fan.

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Voila, les difficulties techniques!...

Taking the stage at 6 p.m. – a long haul for much of the audience who had been queuing up along Ivar since daybreak – “New Zealand’s fourth most popular digifolk parodists” Jemaine Clement and Bret McKenzie come loaded for folk... we think. At least, they will be once Bret’s trusty Casio DG20 electric guitar decides to start working. “So far this is the worst gig ever!” he exclaims, as a helpful disciple down front asks whether or not they need batteries. “What are they, C? No, D batteries,” Jemaine (the bespectacled one, for those keeping track at home) asks. “You should have gotten one that takes A batteries, they’re the best.” Any duo less skilled at banter and effortless charm might have faltered, but no go… the crowd laps up even several minutes of technical difficulties as the Hiphopapotamous and the Rhymenocerous jostle up the setlist to launch acoustically into "The Prince of Parties,” coming back to the synthy goodness of “Inner City Pressure” once DG20 gets its shit together. Awww yeah.

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Binary solo! - 00010011... 00101101...

An abbreviated set though it may have been (We’ll get a chance to hear more from the disc when their US tour swings back around to the Orpheum Theater in May), every track garners boisterous sing-alongs (or at least enthusiastic mouthing) and rapturous applause. Particularly the bizarro-Peter Paul and Mary stylings of “Albi, the Racist Dragon,” which the guys weren’t planning to play yet goes down a treat, especially for those eager to shout out an assist when Clement stumbles on the lyrics. (“Yeah, yeah, that’s enough… we know it, alright, we wrote it!”) Yet perhaps the best bit of audience interaction comes when one luvvah on the center aisle decides to Rickroll the proceedings by holding up an Astley LP, instantly catching McKenzie’s attention: “Hey, there’s an idea!... hold ‘em up, let’s see who else is in the audience tonight.” Look at the vinyl fly! – “Ah, I see Bowie’s in the house. David Lee Roth’s rockin’ it in aisle two. All the Ramones have turned up. Okay, someone just held up Boz Scaggs, then put him back…”

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