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World/Inferno Friendship Society

June 13, 2009

These guys have been my favourite or one of my favourite bands for the past two years or so, occationally replaced by a seasonal favourite, but never dethroned overall. I’ve been wanting to see them pretty much since I first looked up their wikipedia page, which went above and beyond the current iteration in it’s praise of their live shows to the point of stating that outside of their “home turf” of New Jersey / New York, the band has a hard time getting bookings because their shows are so over the top that few bars are willing to invite them back.

I figured that’s a ringing endrosement if anything ever was.

Beyond that, they were the last band on my Big List of bands to see live that I’d not seen. (Kaiser Chiefs, Gogol Bordello, and Ghostland Observatory were the other contenders.)

I spent a good two years or so checking their website devoutly in the hopes they were coming to somewhere near me, but no luck. They didn’t seem to ever leave the US, even. When I saw that they had a show booked in Toronto a few months back, I flipped shit. I tried to talk everyone that I knew might be interested into coming, Jaertes hummed and hawed and ended up doing fuck-all to include himself, Jethe was keen but had run out of money … etc. In the end, I enlisted Keto and the two of us devised a plan. Or more specifically, a lack of plan.

Our plan was, literally, “Jump on a bus to Toronto, go to the W/IFS, get drunk after the show and do terrible things in the city.” We decided any more concrete plans than that would destroy the experience of going to this particular show, and might impact our ability to really enjoy ourselves adequitely afterwards. On the busride down, we started lining up one of Keto’s friends as a place to crash, but never got a hold of him ’till much later, and ended up talking his roommate in res into letting us drop our crap in his room before booting it to the show.

Keto and I hit the bar just as the opener was starting, and decided right off the bat that they weren’t worth our time.  Thus, our time would be better spent at the bar, lubricating ourselves for the evening.  After chasing a gaggle of scene kids away from two unoccupied stools (they were loitering, we pushed in and just sat down, then started the most objectionable conversation we could think of) we sat down for a few and continued speculating wildly about the sexual habits of certain friends of ours.

Then … the show started.  Holy crap, what a show.  Leading in with their old classic “Tattoos Fade”, the band did a spectacular set composed of an excellent mix of old stuff and material from their newest album.  They played their full lineup of real classics (Peter Lorre, Devils Ball, Paul Robeson, I Wouldn’t Want To Live In A World Without Grudges, etc) and the crowd was fantastic.  It was a small crowd – between 40 and 50 people, but we were all die hard fans, and other than the midget-y guy who kept crowd surfing and the fucktard who wanted Jack to wear a Leafs scarf, everyone was just there to have an awesome punk dance party.

Danced my way to the front row for a while, partied there, shook Jack’s hand; danced with the bassist after she tried to crowd surf, moshed for a bit, and danced with some sweet folks in the crowd.  I’ve never been to a show that was that cheerfully rowdy, everyone was going nuts, but no one was causing trouble or picking fights.

Both Keto and I met really nice people in the crowd, including one gal that Keto danced with who it turned out had partied in Victory Manor before the lads and I moved in.  By far, up there among the best shows I’ve been to.  Gogol Bordello and Ghostland Observatory have them trumped in terms of raw crowd being nuts value, but W/IFS take it for crowd environment, capacity for interaction between performers/audience, and overall showmanship.  It may not soundly beat any of the other great concerts I’ve been to, but it’s certainly the most fun I’ve had at a show this year.

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One Comment leave one →
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