Two New Zealanders take the stage late in the evening, deep in the Gilded Balloon Caves, armed with microphones, guitars, a xylophone, a dancing flower and a back catalogue of tuneful and witty melodies. Yes, these boys are on a mission to entertain, and to use the word ‘folk’ as much as humanly possible.
They begin brilliantly, with a Justin Timberlake inspired talkabout, dispersed with refrains of Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney, and it’s clear that nothing is sacred. The mood then mellows, as they give us some real pop melodies with ridiculous rhymes about sex, love and food, and then deliver the ubiquitous Fringe 2003 Eminem impression (in the ghetto-tastic ‘hip-hop-opotamus’), before slaying the audience with a hugely improbable but funny song about identical wild-west gunslingers. And we haven’t even mentioned the alternative Lord of the Rings theme.
The only thing the show suffers from is the chat between the songs. There is just too much average banter, and whilst semi-stoned ramblings are well and good if that’s what you’ve gone to see, you can’t help feeling that with songs as good as these guys seem to have in reserve, they should be playing as many of them as possible. Thankfully, they seem to realise this, and by the end of the show, they’ve accelerated through the songs, cramming as many of them as they can in their time allocation, which certainly leaves the audience wanting more.
So, all in all, we have contemporary R+B folk, gangsta folk, cheesy folk, Baggins folk, slide guitar folk, pop folk, satirical folk and some downright hilarious folk. A rare find, a musical comedy duo with extreme originality and musical integrity, the Conchords entertain at every strum. If comedy was once the new rock and roll, then these guys may be the new folk, a whole load of folk, and a lot more besides.