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Show Review: Hallowmas 20 With World/Inferno Friendship Society

All photos by Jeff Schaer-Moses Photography
World/Inferno Friendship Society truly puts on one of the best Halloween spectacles in the world.

Danielle Kolker of Brooklyn based folk-punk band Out of System Transfer had to turn down a gig with her other project, Funk Rust Brass Band, on Oct. 31 to tend to a religious obligation. That spiritual commitment was World/Inferno Friendship Society’s annual Halloween rowdy down Hallowmas at The Warsaw. As much as Kolker was half joking with her bandmates about why she had to miss the show, calling what transpired in Greenpoint, Brooklyn on All Hallow’s Eve a religious experience isn’t that far from the truth.

The chief pontificator of The Great Pumpkin Jack Terricloth lead his congregation of crusties, misfits, punks, and weirdos on a nearly two-hour long vision quest of intrigue and drama culminating in a rousing rendition of the old World/Inferno hymn “Pumpkin Time.” Terricloth is a cult unto himself and with his absurdly talented brood behind him, it’s hard not fall hook, line, and sinker for his silver-tongued sermons revolving around the aforementioned gourde, the history of WIFS, and the finer points of mischief-making.

It goes without saying that Halloween is a big night in New York City and even with the likes of Gwar and the Parliament Funkadelic putting on competing shows within the borders of the Big Apple WIFS loyal Infernites still made their way to the National Polish Home in Northwest Brooklyn to worship at the altar of the Great Pumpkin. For those who were counted, they were given a real treat of a show for the 20th annual Hallowmas.

It was definitely an intimate affair for World/Inferno and all the Infernites.

On this special evening World/Inferno decided not to open with their usual score “Tattoos Fade” and went instead with “Ich Erinnere Mich An Die Weimarer Republik” and allowed the crowd to sing out the masterful lyrics “I’m a fag, I’m a Jew, how do you do? That’s Mr. Anarchist to you,” but really the whole evening was just one big singalong. The band went through tunes like “Politics of Passing Out,” “The Brother of the Mayor of Bridgewater,” “And Embarked on a Life of Poverty,” “American Mercurial” “Addicted to Bad Ideas,” “Your Younger Man,” and slew of others while the crowd sloshed along dancing, singing, and drinking. WIFS even had their opening act the Lowdown Brass Band jump on stage to add a few extra horns to certain numbers including the opener and “Pumpkin Time.”

With all the costume-clad dancers and the overall design of The Warsaw the whole event kind of felt like a school dance … if your school hired a band fronted by the twisted love child of Frank Sinatra and Elvira who was possibly baptized by satan. But that’s the real fun of Hallowmas, it’s a night to leave the pretension at home and just jump in the Moshpit dressed as Bill S. Preston Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan.

There was no way Bill and Ted were going to miss this rock show.

After 20-years of being one of New York City’s best kept Halloween secrets World/Inferno says they are ready for 20 more. Hell, when the fans who are now half the age of the band still come out in droves for the chance to party it up with the Pumpkin King it’s easy to see why Hallowmas is still one of the best punk events in NYC and by far the best yearly punk shows still kicking in the Volcano.

The Lowdown Brass Band really takes their name to heart as they decided to get down low onto the venue’s floor to entertain the hordes.

The Lowdown Brass Band and Of Death opened the evening. Lowdown captured the crowd with their marching band style tunes and high energy. While the crusties got to moshing to Of Deaths almost alt-country affectations.

Here’s hoping Travis James and the Acrimonious Assembly of Arsonists can open Hallowmas 21 and hats off to Terricloth and the gang for giving all the miscreants something to do on Halloween until the bars close and the real fun can begin.



Interview: World/Inferno Friendship Society’s Jack Terricloth on the origin of Hallowmass

All Photos By Jeff Schaer-Moses Photography
Mr. Terricloth giving his all at Hallowmas 19.

It’s been 20-years since The World/Inferno Friendship Society put on their first “official” Hallowmas at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, New Jersey and it was a spectacle to behold. The group had only been together a short while, they’d released three-singles, and they even managed to get some love from the Village Voice. Not a bad kick off party for a new band’s new event. However, according to Jack Terricloth W/IFS has been celebrating Hallowmas since well before 1997.

“In a very real way, Inferno had been celebrating Hallowmas long before we were making music. Back in Jersey, we were a mischief gang long before our musical ambitions usurped the name.A lot of the gang members could play something, the ones who couldn’t we gave a drum. So instead of having a private bacchanal, we had a public one. Worked out.” said Terriclcoth.

From those humble Garden State roots sprang what has become one of New York City’s best Halloween celebrations. It’s not just a celebration of a fun holiday, but one of New York’s last standing cult phenom’s The World/Inferno Friendship Society.

“It is our holiday, It is the way we mark time, it is the holiday unmarked by a patriarchal tyrant and if you ask people for candy they give it to you. A gift!” Says the eccentric Terricloth.

He has been the proprietor of Hallowmas for its entire two-decade run, and even after running the show for so long Terricloth remains the central force behind the growth of Hallowmas from a little show in Jersey to one of New York Cities best Halloween events.

“It is still very DIY. I’m over at Warsaw twice a week checking out the projections, up all night writing Hallowmissives and filling out postcards and in clubs every weekend ducking and a weaving your shot glasses. Like life this job does not get any easier, just different,” said the Pumpkin King.

The main difference from year one to year 20 has to be the growth in the venue. While Maxwell’s is no hole in the wall the northern New Jersey launching pad is nowhere near the size of W/IFS current Hallowmas venue, The Warsaw in Green point which is cavernous in comparison. Also presumably the good folks over at Scenic Presents like ‘ole Jack Terricloth and the World/Inferno a little better than the promoter at Maxwell’s did back in the late 90’s.

“The booker at Maxwell’s really didn’t like my previous band Sticks and Stones but I had changed my name and band so I don’t think he cared enough to care (there are knowns and known unknowns). His name was Todd Abramson, I used to call him every other day in SAS to get a gig! He finally gave in and gave us a Thursday night. Todd called a couple days before the show and said ‘The Hoodoo Gurus are playing Thursday’ and I said ‘Oh cool, I’d love to play with the Hoodoo Gurus! ‘mars needs guitars!’ to which he replied ‘No, you don’t understand. The Hoodoo Gurus are playing. You’re not’ and hung up. I had to tell this to the band who of course blamed me and not The Hoodoo Gurus. Decades later I told this story doing the acoustic thing in support of Kevin Second’s acoustic thing at Maxwell’s and was promptly told I was banned from Maxwell’s again,” said Terricloth.

Hallowmas is going down on Oct. 31 at The Warsaw and tickets are still very much available.



Theatrics and Poise: World/Inferno Friendship Society bring the house down at Brooklyn Bazaar

Photos by Jeff Schaer-Moses Photography
Jack Terricloth serenading one lucky fan at Brooklyn Bazaar.

The World/Inferno Friendship Society have really only been playing New York three or four times a year as of late, which makes every one of their hometown performances a must see. Their music is complex and beautiful, their sound is raw and powerful, and they bring a level of showmanship and theatricality to the stage that no other punk band on the planet does.

For their last hometown performance before their annual Hallowmas, Mr. Terricloth and his cohort invited Philly ska/punks Teenage Halloween up to the Big Apple to open the evening in Brooklyn Bazaar’s ballroom. They played well and announced that they would be dropping a new record soon on Philadelphia-based Fistolo Records.

Next on the bill was Slackers frontman Vic Ruggiero, who may just be the single most New York human being on the planet (under the age of 60 at least). Vic’s solo sets are like watching New York blues history unfold right before your eyes, and it’s really a thing of beauty. He’s an engaging storyteller, a tremendous guitarist, and a genuine guy.

Vic Ruggiero of The Slackers doing his solo thing.

It’s hard to fill up a stage like Brooklyn Bazaar’s as a solo act, but Vic actually made the room feel full with his electric guitar, a kick drum, a tambourine, and his chest-mounted harmonica. He played his solo stuff, took requests, and even workshopped a new song entitled “Garlic is the Sun” for his hometown crowd. Not all the requests were honored, however, as Vic pointed out to one fan that “if you wanna hear dat one, you’ll need to come to a Slackers show” in his droll New York accent.

As great as Vic was, the crowd was there for one reason and one reason only: to fuck shit up with World/Inferno. The room went bonkers with the first notes of “Tattoos Fade,” and Mr. Terricloth raised a full bottle of Coppola wine to toast the WIFS faithful. The crowd roared along to every lyric of World/Inferno’s opening score, and the ever friendly World/Inferno moshpit sprang into existence. There are punks to help you up in every pit, but something about the WIFS pit is just far more inviting than any other band’s.

Mr. Terricloth raising a toast to his World/Inferno faithful.

In a pre-show interview, Mr. Terricloth had said that Saturday night’s show would be “off the hook,” and he delivered on his word with a big-time performance. The group, which sometimes swells to more than thirteen members, was a lean eight-piece in Greenpoint, but they still packed a mighty punch when performing hits off of Red Eyed Soul like “The Velocity of Love,” “Your Younger Man,” and “Let’s Steal Everything,” among a slew of others.

They went through damn near half their catalogue in a performance that ran nearly two hours, and they did it all with panache. When they left the stage for their admittedly planned encore, the giant who was standing next to me in a denim vest (complete with Choking Victim patch on the back left and Grateful Dead patch on the front right pocket) lept onto the stage and led the crowd in a rousing chant of “tonight we’re gonna fuck shit up” until the band came back.

Ms. Malak

The encore opened with “Politics of Passing Out,” which required Mr. Terricloth to play a little acoustic guitar — in this case, one that he acquired from his old friend Sly Stone back when he was Sly’s driver — and closed with a tune I just don’t know the name of that was selected by WIFS bass player Ms. Malak.



Jack Terricloth Really Wants to Hear From Sly Stone, Talks New World/Inferno Record, and How He Met Stza Crack Through Their Dealer

Photo by Jeff Schaer-Moses Photograpjy
Jack Terricloth of World/Inferno Friendship Society at Hallowmas 2016.

The World/Inferno Friendship Society is more like a punk circus than it is a band, and Jack Terricloth has been the unquestioned ringleader for more than twenty years. It’s hard to believe that a sound so bizarre has endured for more than two decades, especially among the New York punk scene which has very little tolerance for nuance. But WIFS has carved out their niche in the Big Apple with a mix of otherworldly talent and theatrical pageantry unmatched by any of their contemporaries.

The group has truly graduated some greats, like Brian Viglione of the Dresden Dolls, Yula Beeri, and Franz Nicolay (to name just a few). But no matter who they have to replace, they continue to bring the same level of tenacity, talent, and showmanship, due in large part to their diabolical leader Mr. Terricloth.

WIFS has an imminent big-time show at one of Brooklyn’s up-and-coming punk venues, Brooklyn Bazaar, and they are working tirelessly on their new record. But preparatory to unleashing their 13-piece carnival of horrors onto New York, Jack Terricloth sat down with Dying Scene to talk about the new record, how he hopes to one day reunite with Sly Stone, and meeting the members of Leftover Crack through their mutual drug dealer.

Read the full interview below.



World/Inferno Friendship Society to headline PunkNews Summer Soiree

If you’re going to be in Philadelphia on August 12th, be sure to pack your fanciest pants for the PunkNews Summer Soiree. World/Inferno Friendship Society will be headlining, with Posers, Crazy and the Brains, and Pushin’ It 2 the Limit supporting.

Along with live music, there will be punk trivia, a dating game, goodie bags, and cassettes because some of you are apparently too young to remember what a terrible format that was.

Seriously though, imagine paying for an album and it just breaks while you’re rewinding it.

Rewinding was a thing you used to have to do when your music or video got to the end. Instead of, you know, hitting a button or dropping a needle in a different location, you ran your dainty media at a high speed and prayed to sweet zombie Jesus that the tape wouldn’t snap.

Cassettes suck.

But this show won’t suck, so you should check it out if you’re in Philly in mid-August!



All The Weirdos Came Out To Party at Hallowmas

All Photos by Jeff Schaer-Moses
Jack Terricloth relishing in the excitement of his bands annual Halloween hell raising concert at The Warsaw.

Even though Scenic Presents brought World/Inferno Friendship Society and Choking Victim to the Warsaw to play their own separate and distinct shows, this year’s Hallowmas still seemed like day two of one hell of a Halloween weekend festival that Stza and the crack rock steady originators kicked off Sunday night. Many of the people in attendance for Hallowmas had come out the night before, the execution of the music came with the same overall aesthetic, there were members of the previous night’s bands out in the audience, and there were even a few cameo appearances onstage by the previous night’s headliner.

Though the festival feel may not have been a conscious decision by the bands or their promoter, after watching it go down it seems all but inevitable. WIFS’s fanbase is deeply intertwined with Choking Victim’s, and the bands are great friends. The way WIFS frontman Jack Terricloth gleefully called out Leftover Crack for playing on October 30th instead of the real Halloween was like a younger brother catching his older brother listening to Simple Plan and telling his friends about it.

And the family metaphor held strong throughout the evening, because as much as Hallowmas is a concert, it’s also a yearly tradition. Before the bands started playing, there were people chitchatting about how many years in a row they had come and old friends seeing each other for the first time since last year’s World/Inferno Friendship Society extravaganza.

Choking Victim bassist (R) Alec Baillie and Stza (P) along with the rest of Petersen’s friends showing respect to their fallen comrade before ambushing the pit.

There were even two separate tributes to a fallen family member, folk punk poet laureate Erik Petersen of Mischief Brew, whose widow Denise Lynn was in attendance. Opener Guignol played their band’s collaboration with Mischief Brew “Fight Dirty”, and toward the end of the evening six people led by Stza and Choking Victim bassist Alec Baillie carried jack-o-lanterns out into the moshpit that spelled E-R-I-K-P in lights.

However somber the cast lent by Petersen’s midsummer loss, Hallowmas was not a night of regret so much as one to celebrate the family that remains. Minutes before WIFS took the stage their faithful audience began cheering in unison “Tonight / we’re gonna / fuck shit up,” and seconds before the eight-piece folk performance collective arrived the insatiable crowd began informing Terricloth and his co-hooters that “We know” — to which one audience member who has haunted more than their fair share of World/Inferno shows (and even once got ejected from a WIFS show while wearing a pinstripe suit) responded, “I had no fucking idea.”

How often do Frida Kahlo and Andrew W.K. get together for one party?

Regardless of whether that World/Inferno ghost was being sarcastic or not, I had no fucking idea that WIFS was about to put on one of the most energetic two-hour performances I have ever seen. I have been present and counted at some truly memorable concerts in my life, whether it was Radiohead headlining Coachella, Pretty Lights’ first Bonnaroo, or that one time I caught the Flaming Lips while tripping my face off on some of the best LSD I’ve ever tried. And I tell you catching the World/Inferno Friendship Society on their home turf at the Warsaw on their big night Hallowmas can go toe-to-toe with any of those events.

Terricloth was in rare form, all decked out in a tuxedo, leading his band of weirdos in front of a crowd of even bigger weirdos. The crowd moshed, waltzed, mosh-waltzed, and stage dived while the ghoulish crooner threw everything he had at them; no matter how hard he went, all the crowd wanted was more. And more was just what they got when Stza jumped onstage to sing backup vocals for the grand finale.

Guignol might not perform often but when they do they do it well.

Guignol went on just before World/Inferno, and for a band that hasn’t gotten on a stage in years they sounded terrific. The night’s opener was Philly-based pop-punkers Teenage Halloween.



World/Inferno Friendship Society announce 2016 Halloween party

If one band sound like they’d host a great knees-up, it’s got to be World/Inferno Friendship Society. Lucky for you guys, the band will be doing just that at this year’s edition of their annual Halloween party, ‘Hallowmas’. The event is on October, 31st at the Warsaw in Brooklyn.

World/Inferno Friendship Society’s last released This Packed Funeral in 2014 through Alternative Tentacles.



Brooklyn Folks Come Out in Force to Say Goodbye to Erik Petersen

The same thing that makes a memorial show for Erik Petersen in Brooklyn more intimate and beautiful than one for someone like David Bowie or Lemmy also makes it far more heartbreaking. Far be it from me to say that all those who went out to dance for the Star Man or have a Jack and Coke for Lemmy were not experiencing a personal tragedy. But most of those people never shared a moment, a conversation, or a drink with their hero.

When it came to Mischief Brew’s poetic front-man, it seemed like every punk who showed up to pay tribute to him on Sunday night had had a more personal encounter with the folk punk icon.

“I absolutely hate the reason we are all here tonight” said Brook Pridemore, the evening’s third performer just before he began his set. Then after he’d broken just about half the strings on his guitar he told a story about a time he had spent at Erik and Denise Petersen’s home in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania when he saw Erik squeeze the poop out of one of the more seasoned of the Petersen’s beloved pugs. He followed that story with a singalong rendition of “Old Tyme Mem’ry.”

Christy Road seemed to be working hard to hold it together during her set at the Erik Petersen tribute show.

Before Pridemore, Early Riser, Cristy Road, and two members of Teenage Halloween had performed short somewhat somber solo acoustic sets. During this time the crowd was rather small and subdued, and when it shouted words at the stage they were encouraging. An audience member called out “But it’s beautiful!” to Road when she pointed out a slight mistake in her rendition of Mischief Brew classic “Every Town Will Celebrate.”

At no point did the show ever feel like anything but a celebration of an inspiring man’s life, but until Pridemore, things felt a bit more like a remembrance. After he flooded the stage with his energy and anger it started to feel like a party. The crowd started forming, the mosh pit opened up, and the evening’s pent-up frustration and rage rose to the surface.

If there was one thing that Brook Pridemore had no problem doing it was showing emotion on stage.

Then Out of System Transfer took the stage, and while the Brooklynites definitely represented the more folk side of folk punk — which toward the latter part of their run Mischief Brew expressly shied away from — the people in attendance didn’t slam dance any more subtly for it. The trombone-toting four-piece played a few covers, and their lead singer waxed poetic about his and Petersen’s shared affinity for obscure folk tunes in a set that included tracks like “The Preacher and the Slave” by Joe Hill, “Pancho and Lefty” by Townes Van Zandt, and “Mary Ellen Carter” by Stan Rogers, a track Mischief Brew had released as a single. They also hit Mischief Brew’s “Lowly Carpenter” along with some Out of System Transfer originals.

By the time the folk punk collective Comrades took the stage the venue seemed so packed it was about to burst, and it wouldn’t have mattered whether it was the loud, angsty, and abrasive sounds of Comrades or another solo acoustic act getting on stage; the audience was ready to lose their minds. The melee ensued the moment Comrades struck their first note and the pushing and shoving didn’t end until after their last. Though Comrades didn’t play any Mischief Brew covers, their track “Give Me Coffee or Give Me Meth” is a clear homage to Mischief Brew’s “Gimme Coffee Or Death.”

It was during their set that the show really started to feel like the sort of shindig that Mischief Brew would have headlined. It felt as though at any second Erik might just come through the door from the merch booth or back from the bar after a glass of whisky.

But in the absence of ghosts, Israeli composer and musician Yula Beeri was no consolation prize. Her three-piece band was one of the most exciting and musically proficient acts of the evening; Yula spent most of their set on a stool and still managed to keep the crowd in a frenzy. She also split part of the set with World Inferno/Friendship Society frontman Jack Terricloth. They did two tracks together, one with Yula’s full band and the other a haunting rendition of “Friend to the Friendless.”

Jack Terricloth’s appearance really put the cap on a night that was already as beautiful as it could have been.

“It is one of life’s absurd jokes that I am playing a memorial for Mr. Petersen, rather than Mr. Petersen playing a memorial for me,” said Terricloth. “Comedy is part of the grieving process, take it from me,” he added before raising a toast to the fallen.

After the official performances wrapped up, Out of System Transfer led a rousing singalong of Mischief Brew songs — among others, “Roll Me Through the Gates of Hell” and “Thanks, Bastards” — before the stage was opened up to anyone who wished to jump up and sing a song in tribute to Erik Petersen.

Out of System Transfer leading rousing renditions of some of Mischief Brew’s biggest hits along with the crowd.

While fans of Petersen’s took their turn on the mic and the crowd sang along, the real sadness of the event started to take hold of many in attendance. Terricloth stood stoic in the back of the venue surveying the thinning group, while others sat down on the concrete floor.

As people stumbled over lyrics and pulled out cell phones for quick refreshers on tunes, we all realized that this was it. Denise Petersen watched the clumsy, loving efforts to keep things going for one more song. “It’s a beautiful shit-show,” she said, “like my life.”



World/Inferno Friendship Society announce more US dates with Culture Shock

Brooklyn circus punks World/Inferno Friendship Society recently announced a string of shows with UK ska-punkers Culture Shock (members of Subhumans, Citizen Fish). The band has added more dates to that tour, increasing the length of the run to just over two weeks across America.

You can view the full list of dates and locations below.

The band’s latest album This Packed Funeral was released on November 11th, 2014 through Alternative Tentacles. Culture Shock’s Attention Span was released via Alternative Tentacles June 15.



Catch 22 will headline Panic State Records’ 7th anniversary show

New Jersey-based punk label  Panic State Records is celebrating their 7th anniversary, and they will be celebrating January 23rd at the Starland Ballroom.  They recently announced that Jersey’s own ska band Catch 22 will headline the event.  The band also has a big anniversary this year, celebrating 20 years together.  They will perform their album Alone in a Crowd with original Catch 22 vocalist Jeff Davidson.

The show will also feature performances by World/Inferno Friendship SocietyRebuilder, and We Were Sharks.  If you want to pick up some tickets (and honestly, why wouldn’t you), you can find them here.

 



Bouncing Souls announce lineup for Home For The Holidays 9

New Jersey legends The Bouncing Souls have announced the lineup for their 9th annual Home For The Holidays festival.

This year will feature bands like The World/Inferno Friendship Society, Tim Barry, The Loved Ones, and more.  You can get all the details here.

The Bouncing Souls last released “Comet” in 2012 via Rise Records & Chunksaah Records.



The World/Inferno Friendship Society announce European tour dates

Brooklyn circus punk troupe The World/Inferno Friendship Society have announces some European tour dates for this summer.

You can see the full list of dates and locations below.

The band’s latest album This Packed Funeral was released on November 11th, 2014 throughAlternative Tentacles.



The World/Inferno Friendship Society announce June shows

In addition to playing a short run of shows in April, Brooklyn’s World/Inferno Friendship Society have announced they will be doing the same in June. More info on their newly-announced shows can be found below.

The band’s latest album This Packed Funeral was released on November 11th, 2014 through Alternative Tentacles. It served as a follow-up to 2011’s The Anarchy And The Ecstasy.



The World/Inferno Friendship Society announce April shows

Brooklyn circus punk troupe The World/Inferno Friendship Society will be playing a handful of shows in Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts this April. Check out the dates and locations below.

The band’s latest album This Packed Funeral was released on November 11th, 2014 through Alternative Tentacles. It served as a follow-up to 2011’s The Anarchy And The Ecstasy.



The World/Inferno Friendship Society premiere new song “Elegant Solution”

Brooklyn circus punk troupe The World/Inferno Friendship Society have premiered another new song from their upcoming album This Packed Funeral. You can check out “Elegant Solution” below.

This Packed Funeral is set to be released on November 11th through Alternative Tentacles. It serves as a follow-up to 2011’s The Anarchy And The Ecstasy.