Thursday, July 7, 2016

The World/Inferno Friendship Society at the Bowery Ballroom

Jack Terricloth
In 1994, the band Sticks and Stones ended in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Seeking a fresh start in music, the band's front man, Pietro Ventantonio, moved to Brooklyn, New York. Renamed Jack Terricloth, in 1996 he started the World/Inferno Friendship Society, a punk band that would integrate sounds of contrapuntal fugue, swing, cabaret, tango, waltz, New Orleans funeral march and just about everything else. Terricloth has been the only constant during the collective's 20-year history. The World/Inferno Friendship Society's sixth and most recent album is 2014's This Packed Funeral.

As with very World/Inferno Friendship Society concert, tonight's performance at the Bowery Ballroom began with the band's percussionists pounding on drums like a marching band, at first slowly, and then faster, igniting more enthusiastic revelry among the fans, until Terricloth strolled onstage, bottle of wine in hand. Under dim red and blue stage lights, Terricloth was a sight from a noir vaudevillian nightmare, with pale white skin and thinning hair against a dark suit, cufflinks jutting from his sleeves and spats peeking from his pant legs and white shoes. He came to entertain, but also to be entertained by his rabid fans pushing for space to pogo by the edge of the stage. This anarchy was lightened with comedy, with the band performing complex genre-defying rockers with titles such as "Let's Steal Everything", "I Wouldn't Want to Live in a World without Grudges", "Addicted to Bad Ideas" and the closing "Zen and the Art of Breaking Everything in This Room." Terricloth frequently knelt at the edge of the stage to touch fans while crooning in a talky manner into an old-fashioned microphone. Terricloth was more ringmaster than vocalist, and turned the concert into a raving punky party.

Visit the World/Inferno Friendship Society at www.worldinferno.com.