FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS TPi’s Ste Durham caught up with the tight knit crew at Manchester Arena as they stared down the barrel of the tour’s climactic run of shows at Eventim Apollo, London, where the band were due to film their long-awaited HBO special.
Musical comedy duo Flight of the Conchords [FOTC], otherwise known as New Zealanders Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, had their theatre run in the UK cut short earlier this year when McKenzie inadvertently broke his hand, leading to all remaining shows being postponed. Despite this setback, the band returned in June to finish the job with a run of arena shows leading to a 4-night run at Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo, wherein a TV special for US network HBO was to be filmed. Monitor Engineer and Backline Tech, Matt Shane, first met FOTC in 2006 while he served as a staff engineer at the recording studio in New York where a lot of the music for the TV series and albums were recorded. He began: “The band and their producer, Mickey Petralia, came in to record and craft all the music for the television series’ 2 seasons, as well as the band’s debut EP and subsequent albums. “After the second season the band and their management asked me if I would be interested in going on the road with them and doing live sound. The first tour I mixed FOH & monitors and it was a lot of fun. We started that
tour in small theatres and ended it in a basketball arena, so it was clear that the next time we went out on the road the crew would grow.” This latest UK tour came about in the same way as those past ones, as Shane explained: “The management reaches out for availabilities and then schedules are confirmed. All the while I’m in contact with Bret and Jemaine trying to get any insight I can into what the show may look and sound like from a stage set and backline perspective. As I receive or decipher info I will pass it on to Mike Leach (FOH Engineer) and Marc Janowitz (LD/PM) so they’re looped in on the latest info from the band.” Having spent years building his relationship with the artists, it made the most sense for Shane to stay on stage and handle all of their backline / stage tech needs while mixing monitors. He continued: “The band is really fun to mix for, and our working snapshots have held pretty true tour to tour, which is wonderful considering our production rehearsals are real shows - there’s not much in the way of traditional prep / rehearsal time for tech. 74