SEVEN years after they last played the UK, with their absence extended after Bret McKenzie broke his hand earlier this year, the abiding feeling on seeing Flight of the Conchords again is how joyful it is they’re back. As McKenzie and Jemaine Clement tell it, New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk duo have been having a wild time touring, their indiscretions with muffins and lifts betraying a band whose idea of rock ‘n’ roll excess is endearingly limited, their solitary episode of Led Zeppelin-style hedonism traumatising them into a hilarious coda of closing wordplay gags.
Flight of the Conchords, Hydro, Glasgow ****
They open with the new-ish number Father and Son, a quintessentially Conchords tune of a pitiable man’s wilful delusion, blossoming around the affectionate relationship Clement’s character shares with McKenzie’s as his harmonious but undermining son. F*** on the Ceiling finds Clement taking the female part for once, but it’s a typically brilliant sketch of an ultra-sexed office romance, Deanna and Ian delightfully characterised through unabashed lust and the mundane backdrop of their surroundings.
The Most Beautiful Girl In The Room, 1353 (Woo a Lady), the cheeky Franglais of Foux du Fafa and peerless oldie Bus Driver Song – quiet desperation rendered in unwitting tour guide commentary – all show how inspired by and subversive the Conchords can be about love, and thwarted courting especially.
Yet the standout number is the homoerotic, epic western vibe of The Ballad of Stana, which Clement passionately segues into U2’s One. Elsewhere, Carol Brown, Inner City Pressure and Bowie remain exquisite homages to Paul Simon, The Pet Shop Boys and the Thin White Duke respectively. However, Mutha’uckas/Hurt Feelings, a sublime rap parody with wickedly inventive lyrics and a soaring chorus, lays to rest any suggestion that they’re a mere pastiche act.