I'm going to have the World/Inferno Friendship Society's babies


Out 13 2008, 5h19

I can't sleep, so I thought I'd update my journal/concert counter. Detroit doesn't get good concerts often. Quite frequently, bands like The Dresden Dolls will skip Detroit entirely in national and even regional tours. This season, though, Amanda Palmer, The Legendary Pink Dots, Star Fucking Hipsters, and, of course, The World/Inferno Friendship Society have or will show up in Detroit. Conveniently, I moved to East Lansing in August. I'll end up missing most of the concerts I really want to see, but nothing could stop me from seeing World/Inferno.

I'm going to paste in a concert review that I never got published to describe the evening, partially due to I think I'll be able to sleep if I lay down now. I may add tags later:

The sky was dark red, casting down on the once-illustrious Pontiac. The onl parking available was in a shady, empty lot. The tool booth was on the north side of the lot, and the crack heads hung out on the south side. The Crofoot is across the street and through a door that leads up a stairway to the second-story venue. Inside, men who usually wore tight black jeans and patch-clad jackets traded in their usual attire for three-piece suits and derbies, and women who usually wore band tees and plaid skirts bore their best flapper dress and Mardi Gras mask for the evening.
This was not just a typical punk rock concert. This was the World/Inferno Friendship Society, the Brooklyn-based band whose sound eludes all who want to give it a genre. Some call it cabaret, klezmer, swing, circus music, ska, show tunes or a combination of those. The band describes itself as a punk rock orchestra, which is perhaps the best definition given the band's live show lineup of three saxophone players, two percussionists, an accordion and keyboard player, a guitarist and bass player, and a CD lineup of 20 orchestral New York musicians. Still, no genre title captures the music adequately.
Looking out the draped windows of the Crofoot at the surrounding art-deco buildings, the setting was perfect. The first band, a local punk group known as Serpent Men, got on stage. They played music so heavy and bland with song titles, like Police State, so stereotypical of punk rock that it seemed as though they were just a caricature of every hardcore band from 20 years ago. The next band, which consists of two members of Negative Approach, was Easy Action. They didn't mesh well with the crowd, which was waiting for its cult-like ensemble to take the stage. Someone yelled out "Freebird" to mock the band, which only added tension.
Finally, World/Inferno started to the stage. First came out Sandra Malak, the bass player, and Lucky Strano, the guitar player. Unfortunately, the stage was notably empty, as all three saxophone players, the second percussion player and usual accordion and keyboard players were missing. There was Raja Azar to play keyboards, but without the woodwind players, some of the songs lacked its full luster. Notably, the drummer for The Dresden Dolls and Nine Inch Nails' "Ghosts I-IV" album, Brian Viglione, stepped in to play drums for the band as of late. Last to take the stage was the inimitable Jack Terricloth, the lead vocalist, dressed in a suit with slicked back hair and a touch of eyeliner.
He took to the mic and introduced the band. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is the World/Inferno Friendship Society!" With that, the band began storming through its setlist, stopping between songs to give Terricloth a chance to say something. The monologues, which range in subject from a social commentary to the story behind the next song, have a chill to them. Though sometimes anecdotal and too outlandish to be true, talking to a friend of the band revealed that the stories are based in truth. Indeed, Terricloth was telling the truth about shooting off M-80s into a crowd of people after a show in Detroit, which happened a few years ago.
The crowd, waltzing and fox trotting along, sang along to every song. In the pit, one couldn't even hear oneself screaming, and by the end of the night, everyone's voice sounded raspy and aching. Crowd reaction is a huge portion to what makes the show so notable. Seeing anarchists screaming "what a wonderful, wonderful world" is enough to make a night memorable, but to see that while they waltzed together makes a night unforgettable.
After playing for about an hour, Terricloth said, "I'd like you to show me how to clap with one hand." He held up his hand and began to snap. The crowd joined in. "Now I'd like to show you my new contraption. It is my cool-o-meter. It registers how cool a crowd is by how much Raja smiles." Azar, standing to Terricloth's right, started to grin uncontrollably. "It looks like you guys are pretty cool," Terricloth said, with his head tilted and a smirk on his face. Then Azar began to play the first notes to the band's party hit "Only Anarchists are Pretty," and the crowd exploded in cheers.
The band walked off stage after that song, but came back after a few minutes. Terricloth took to the mic and said, "I'd like to play you a waltz. If you're a guy and you've been meaning to talk to a girl, here's your excuse. Just say, 'hey, that guy in that band told me to.' If you're a guy who wants to dance with another guy, hey, that's cool too. If you're a girl who wants to dance with another girl, well, you'll be the two most popular people in this room. If you're too embarrassed to ask someone in front of us, we'll just turn around." Then the entire band turned around until everyone found a partner. They began playing "Heart Attack '64," one of their slower songs. They played a few songs, and finished up with "Zen and the Art of Breaking Everything in This Room." From there, they packed up and started to drive to Wisconsin.
Overall, the show, even without the saxophone players, had a great atmosphere, and the songs were played well. The crowd was very into the band and kept courteous, aside from a few kids who were in the very front who were throwing elbows. The band members were nice and talked to people after the show.
World/Inferno has been around for over 10 years and has had many members come and go, with Terricloth the only one to be part the whole time. Their first album, "The True Story of the Bridgewater Astral League," was made with a musical of the same name and provided the music. It was about a crew of mischievous teens from Bridgewater, New Jersey, who stole cars and snuck into bars through astral projection. Their newest album, "Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's Twentieth Century," is a concept album based off of Peter Lorre's life and career. Last summer, the Terricloth, along with Jay Scheib, performed the album as a musical.
After touring through the Midwest and East Coast, World/Inferno plans to write a new album that will be out by spring 2009.


  • PennyDr3adful

    sounds like a kickass show. i saw them back in september at a local college. it was amazing. beforehand, i wasn't so sure jack was so, dare i say it. . . . .attractive. i know! shun me now! but aferwards, i found myself smitten. not enough to have his babies, of course, but nontheless. , , ,but yeah, they have awesome shows. if you want you can read the journal i wrote about the show i went to. hell, i took the time to read your's ;)

    Out 28 2008, 22h07
  • PennyDr3adful

    oh, also, apparently "the terricloth" believes he is the reincarnation of peter lorre. just thought you should know.

    Out 28 2008, 22h09
  • slickbenjamn

    I'll give it a read. How'd you like my little article? I was going to have it published on a site, but I didn't have any pictures or video to go with it.

    Out 29 2008, 2h07
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