The World/Inferno Friendship Society is a band that defies categorization. With elements of cabaret, punk, soul, jazz and show tunes, their music is part of no genre, yet involves all genres. This means they have always toured with interesting lineups.
Seattle-based The Pickpocket Revue started the night off with a rousing performance that began with a folk country cover of Cock Sparrer’s seminal punk anthem “Because You’re Young”, which was a good choice because the small crowd knew the words and were engaged quickly. They didn’t miss a step and covered “Jimmy Jazz” by The Clash to the delight of the crowd. While the band is about a year old, which explains the reliance on covers, they had great stage presence and their original songs were infectious and had Aaron Joshua Shay bouncing around the stage with his banjo. The band is energetic and a great addition to the Seattle scene.
I don’t know if there’s a single person living that embodies the DIY ethic of anarcho-punk more than Dick Lucas. He’s most notable for being the lead singer of Subhumans. If you don’t know who that is go listen to them, but tonight he was fronting the recently reunited Culture Shock. Mr. Lucas has more energy than most 16 year old kids, running around the stage screaming his head off. If there’s one characteristic that’s consistent through all of his lyrics, it’s that the he’s pissed at the state of the world and wants the audience to know that. This isn’t done in a ‘shove it down their throats’ way, but with a sincerity that comes from wanting to right so many wrongs. The band ripped through their set, getting the crowd to dance their asses off, skanking mosh pits and all.
Jack Terricloth was born in the wrong era. Rather, he’s stuck between different eras. Part anarchist punk, part vaudeville showman and all charisma. The World/Inferno Friendship Society is a collective, lead by the aforementioned Mr. Terricloth, filled with delinquents, weirdos and freaks in the best sense of the words. While they also embody the DIY spirit of punk, they bring an entirely different dynamic, introducing a little cabaret into the anarchy. There is one guarantee when you attend a W/IFS show, you will leave with a smile on your face, covered in sweat and yearning for their return. The band was in tune and on time, hitting every note with equal importance. This is a band that knows what they’re good at and does it with effortless style, playing through a powerful and amazing set. A highlight of the evening was “Thumb Cinema” from Addicted to Bad Ideas, a personal favorite song from a brilliant album. Throughout the set Jack made sure everyone up front was attended to, singing straight into their eyes and holding their hands, and even sharing a glass from his staple bottle of wine with a lucky man. There really isn’t another band leader like him, who can switch from charming to frantic in an instant. The appeal of this band, their songs and live shows is that they go from waltz worthy to a circle pit in no time.
If you live your life without witnessing The World/Inferno Friendship Society live, I pity you and how boring that must be. Also, feel free to dress up. It’s not mandatory, but perhaps encouraged.