vmh wrote:That laugh at the end is so funny because it got silent and it looked like Jemaine and Bret were taken aback by it. It cuts off at the end but I think Jemaine was about to start accusing someone in the audience.
Score: A Night of Musical Comedy
Posted by Sando on April 12th, 2010
Score: A Night of Musical Comedy, or as the Dominion Post called it â€œthat show what had that Flight of the Conchords surprise gigâ€, was surprisingly a night of kiwi comedy song. Emceed by comedy duo The Lemon Barley Trio: 2010 Billy T Nominee T.J. McDonald and that Indian guy from the Fatso adverts Jerome Chandrahasen. Daniel McClelland, Robbie Ellis, Matt Mulholland, Gabe Page, and (â€œsecretlyâ€) the Flight of the Conchords were on the bill.
Unsurprisingly, the Fringe Bar was packed, and twenty minutes till show time, the line to enter the gig stretched around the block. As a cock, Iâ€™ll not deign to comment as to why that was, but to quote the Fringe Barâ€™s entertainment manager Derek Flores â€œthe Fringe Bar can always guarantee the best in NZ comedy week after week. Last night [April 9th] was no different.â€
There is a fair bit of negativity towards comic music from those who are into stand-up. There are bitter accusations of it being easier to milk a bit (make a joke last longer than it needs to); that music with comedy is just gimmickry; and that audiences have been conditioned Pavlovian style to clap, cheer and such after every song. To be fair, those statements are largely correct, excluding the gimmickry, but that doesnâ€™t mean that comic song should be derided; itâ€™s a different art form that just happens to share the same stages as stand up. The repeated chorus in Gabriel Pageâ€™s Itâ€™s Tough Living With You When Youâ€™re Not Living With Me isnâ€™t so much easy padding, as a reassuring lull in what is otherwise a very dark (brilliant) song. See Page in â€˜L is for Love and Love is For Losersâ€™ in the NZ Comedy Festival, itâ€™ll be worth it.
The Lemon Barley Trio were an odd choice to compere the night, as the duoâ€™s downbeat and soft spoken persona is antithetical to what a regular comedy night requires from an emcee, â€“ a person who can wake up the often frigid kiwi audience. It did work though, as it seems the soothing comic experience was useful unifying measure to keep the different musical voices from becoming disjointed.
Daniel McClelland, the opening act, played an almost entirely new, as in written that week, set with a great urgency; very fresh and biting. Itâ€™s obvious that this fervour with which he plays is a fundamental to him as a musician, which is actually a bit disappointing as his best piece, and possibly the best piece of the night was a slow and thoughtful song where he recited the IMDB censorship notes of the top films of 2010. Also frustrating was how the content of his last song was lost or muddied in his excess of energy. Ironically I think the song was about making political point. Listen to his From Berhampore To The Hutt here: http://tiny.cc/5k39i
There are different stresses at play with musical comedy vs stand up: I can happily listen to an hour of one-liners slung by Steven Wright but canâ€™t do more than twenty minutes of Tim Minchinâ€™s pop-rock. His musical sameness is wearisome. Part of the joy of Score was hearing so many musical tropes from so many different performers. Hearing Robbie Ellis jump from an acoustic Billy Bragg style piece about Wellington J-Walking to Frank Sinatraâ€™s â€œNew York New Yorkâ€ reworked into a pointed attack against the â€œWellywoodâ€ sign. It was an accomplished piece of song and satire, a pity that the NZ Comedy Guild refuses parody songsters eligibility for a Billy T nominee, and as Benjamin Crellin proved, even throbbingly good satire doesnâ€™t win you one either. Tough luck Robbie. Ellisâ€™s Bus Route Through My Heart music video can be found at http://tiny.cc/1yrle
Musicianship in comic song can be at its most powerful when used to in an ironic mode. Score illustrated that to make a comedy song, you couldnâ€™t go wrong with a well made generic pastiche welded to an incongruous subject. This is a big component of Mullholland, Ellisâ€™ and the Flight of the Conchords acts. Page and McClleland chose to stay in their respective genres of Love Ballads andâ€¦ acoustic rage rock? But exploited those genres on a deeper level than just pastiche. You could feel sadness and resignation radiating off of Page at times, in fact it was rather refreshing.
Victoria School of Music graduate Matt Mulholland had the most polished set of the night, which wasnâ€™t surprising as every song was from his Toilet Secrets LP; something which Iâ€™ve owned since at least the autumn of â€˜08. Sometimes I stroke the disc and think of his side burns. The lack of new material didnâ€™t bother me as there is a slick professionalism to Mulhollandâ€™s live act that you canâ€™t access with his album. Itâ€™s that easy, almost lazy control of the audience coupled with his strong musical ability that made Chicken For Love my song of the night. (Listen to it here: http://tiny.cc/j7pie)
I am going to discuss the Flight of The Conchords now. To be straight with you, their set felt like a different gig to the rest of the night. Every other act had to prove themselves against the spectre of the duoâ€™s rumoured appearance, and they did well as the line up was unusually exceptional. Many people had obviously never been to live comedy before, and were intoxicated with it (and alcohol.) I hope that they come back now that they have seen proof that the Conchords donâ€™t exist in a vacuum.
Okay, okay, Conchords.
The Dominion Postâ€™s write http://tiny.cc/5yzfu had their part of the summed up nicely. When the Conchords came on, we were just â€œ135 lucky fansâ€ watching the only genuine international kiwi stars of our generation, and we loved them. For 12NZD we got to see what people are paying scalpers 200GBP (approx 434.40NZD) for. For the record, their set was a mix of their material found on Flight of the Conchords and I Told You I Was Freaky, consisting of The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room, I told you I was Freaky, Carol Brown and Bus Driverâ€™s Song.
The lads were sloppy after about a year of not playing with each other. Jemaine Clement struggled to sing and play his bass strung electric acoustic ukulele at the same time and they had major technical issues caused in part by the Fringe Bars infamous shitty left side mic, and in part by Jemaine not understanding how to do his own tech. Who cares though? Their mucking about made them more endearing, they bantered with the audience, smiled and had a bit of false bravado when dealing with a heckler, a woman many hated from the moment she opened her foreign gob. What can I say? New Zealand can be xenophobic and she was attacking our band. Well, we were their audience but same diffâ€™ right?
â€œYeah, good on ya.â€ -Bus Drivers Song.
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