World/Inferno Friendship Society | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

World/Inferno Friendship Society 

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With its zealous horns, rampaging accordion, circusy swing, and overheated gutter-poet melodrama, this supersize New York punk-cabaret band has something to irritate just about everybody--its cheeky, casually dissolute swagger even manages to make the switchblade-sharp instrumental technique on display seem annoyingly show-offy. But despite all that, the music's as infectious as a virus (and I can't imagine the Dresden Dolls doing so well in a world that hadn't already had World/Inferno in it for years). Front man Jack Terricloth is so hammy, snarky, and earnest all at once that it gives me a headache--he sounds like a young Elvis Costello after lessons in projection and enunciation from Meat Loaf. On this summer's Red-Eyed Soul (Chunksaah) the combination of his literate shuck-and-jive and the band's corny stings and flourishes almost overwhelms the songs--the key word, though, is "almost." These are mighty strong songs, not easily bested, and no amount of bric-a-brac or this-killed-vaudeville over-the-topness can spoil catchy tunes like "Only Anarchists Are Pretty" or "Let's Steal Everything." Onstage the vocals yield some ground to the jam-packed arrangements, and it's easier to warm up to Jack when you can watch him eviscerate hecklers--picture Steve Albini as a dandified lush with a mike in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other. World/Inferno opens for the Bouncing Souls, the Street Dogs, and Whole Wheat Bread. a 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $16. A

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