World/Inferno Friendship Society Rock Yacht
Brooklyn collective charmed devoted fans on the Hudson River for their annual "Hallowmas" show.
Last night, hundreds of punks, geeks, and theater kids doused in fake blood piled on line at 42nd St. for World/Inferno Friendship Society’s annual Hallowmas show, which navigated the Hudson River on a yacht this year. To Inferno fans, this event is huge. As everyone waited to board the ship, one girl announced theatrically, “If I die at the World/Inferno show, I want everyone to know it’s what I wanted!”
Indeed, when World/Inferno — a self-proclaimed “red-eyed soul” nine-piece out of Brooklyn — played their set, no one could doubt the fans’ devotion. Up front, people were more horizontal than vertical, and the boundary between stage and crowd was effectively deconstructed.
World/Inferno are not your typical punk act, and it’s not just their ska and gospel disguises that set them apart. Instead of beer-chugging and shouting, lead singer Jack Terricloth sipped wine from the bottle and pronounced choruses like “Only anarchists are pretty” in a nasal, grandiloquent voice. When the mob of fans started falling forward onto the stage, Terricloth cheekily prodded back, “What do I look like, a pushover?”
Opening band Max Levine Ensemble, on the other hand, was punk-by-the-numbers — as in 2-minute songs with 3 chords. Still, if each song was the same, it wasn’t a bad one. The vocals were mostly inaudible, but that didn’t prevent the front row from singing along. On a night where the dress code was supposedly “historical figures in hell,” even Capote and Zappa dug the D.C. act. Meanwhile, Hunter S. Thompson stood pensive, a cigarette hanging out of his mouth as he asked coolly, “What is this bullshit?” KAREEM ESTEFAN / PHOTOS BY ANDREW HINDERAKER