“Are there any secret agents here tonight?” asked Bret McKenzie, one of two members of the self-proclaimed band-not-duo Flight of the Conchords, who performed to a near-sold out audience at Lisner Auditorium Friday.
Such statements represent the band’s unique brand of dry, tongue-in-cheek humor – which can be heard on their recent self-titled album and seen on their HBO television show.
Members Jemaine Clement and McKenzie performed with acoustic guitars (sharing one guitar pick) and alternated playing a keytar, a synthesizer keyboard shaped like a guitar. The instruments were accompanied by humorous lyrics and dialogue from the two performers, who are originally from New Zealand.
The band opened with the song “Inner City Pressure,” after which they poked fun at District life. Noting that they drove by the White House upon their arrival, McKenzie scanned the crowd and asked the audience “Did the President come? No? It’s not very far.”
He added, “I haven’t even introduced you to the band yet. I’m Jemaine and that’s Bret. Bret’s a real popular member of the band,” said Clement. “Probably the most popular member.”
Several highlights included when McKenzie attempted to jump from the stage and lost the connection wire to his keytar, a discussion on musicians’ willingness to take up causes (as satirized in their song “Think About It”), and their song “Robot Song,” which discussed a world without humans. Jemaine told the crowd,”We’re just trying to get in the market of robots.”
After performing for over an hour, Clement and McKenzie returned for two encores, responding to audience suggestions and playing the acoustic fictitious rap battle “Hiphopopotamus v. Rymenoceros.”
The performance was preceded by a fifteen-minute standup routine by California-based comedian Arj Barker, who poked fun at climate change, predictive text in text messaging and life in Washington. Barker plays the part of “Dave” on the HBO series.
Flight of the Conchords are currently on tour. Their music is available at www.myspace.com/conchords.