The lights dim, the crowd quiets, and a chorus of “Tonight, we’re gonna, fuck shit up! Tonight, we’re gonna, fuck shit up, Tonight, we’re gonna, fuck shit up,” fills the cavernous Warsaw International Polish Home before the demonic despot Jack Terricloth hits the stage with his mischievous gang of rabble-rousers The World/Inferno Friendship Society.
It doesn’t take them long to break into their perennial opener “Tattoo’s Fade” and with its opening notes the clawed hands of the WIFS faithful reached for the heavens and moved toward their frenetic leader, the Pumpkin King. Their mere appearance on stage is a happening, but when the World/Inferno are on like they were for Hallowmas 21 they are one of the most powerful sonic forces on Earth
Hallowmas is so much more than a Halloween concert, it is a New York City underground tradition as important for its fun factor as it’s cultural significance. 21-years isn’t just a tradition, it’s an (and I apologize to Mr. Terricloth for using this word) an institution. It’s New York City’s officially unofficial punk-rock Halloween party.
Year after year WIFS pulls out all the stops for their flagship show and without fail they top themselves every time. The giant Jack puppet that performed the show’s overture was a fitting and creepy ode to Jack’s 1950’s aesthetic, while the addition of an LED screen and graphics added a more modern flair the often more vintage tones the World/Inferno are known for taking on.
Modernity aside The overall feel of the band remains that of the devil’s lounge act and what better night for them to show out than all hallows eve. The crowd full of familiar faces bounced around the room pushing and shoving and singing along because every World/Inferno show is a sing-along.
Through their extended set WIFS played a mix of the hits and the deep cuts and through the revere “Politics of Passing Out” sticks out as a complete highlight of the evening. As does their classic Halloween closer “Pumpkin Time” which when performed was accompanied by a stilt-walking great pumpkin who mid-song stripped out their orange costume into a bedazzled BDSM outfit.
But Hallowmas is about so much more than what songs World/Inferno played or which band’s open, Crazy and the Brains, and Gallows Bound as it were.
It’s about the fact that every year you know it’s going to happen. It’s about getting out there and mixing it up with the creatures of the night and it’s about throwing a New York City Halloween Party that’s meant for the weirdos.