Lifetime / World Inferno Friendship Society - live in New York (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Lifetime / World Inferno Friendship Society

live in New York (2007)

live show

The fact that I'd be seeing Lifetime for a fourth time was a little stunning. Perhaps it was a sign that they really are back for good, but it actually wouldn't be the only signal from that day.

In terms of similarly styled, modern melodic hardcore I couldn't think of many more appropriate bands to open it up. By the end of this year I'll probably have seen Crime in Stereo more times than I've seen any other band, but like another New York favorite it's simply impossible to get sick of them. The opening thrash of "Everything Changes" has thus become completely predictable, but it still gets me every time. The band hit up every one of their releases to make pu the set list and lost little intimacy considering the stage they played from (probably their biggest since Irving Plaza opening for Brand New in 2003). Kristian Hallbert leaned into the crowd to make sure kids got their mic time, while the other members kept their composure in the comparatively large Bowery Ballroom. I'll admit I was a little nervous about seeing them in such an unusually sized venue (for them), but a loose enough crowd and adequate interaction resolved my fears.

Set list (9:02-9:30):

  1. Everything Changes / Nothing Is Truly Ever Lost
  2. Bicycles for Afghanistan
  3. I'm on the Guestlist Motherfucker
  4. -----
  5. Terribly Softly
  6. Sudan
  7. -----
  8. Long Song Titles Aren't Cool Anymore Because the Rest of You Fuckers Are No Good at It
  9. Amsterdamned!
  10. -----
  11. Slow Math
  12. Gravity/Grace
  13. -----
  14. Play It Loud, Fuckers
  15. ["New Harlem Shuffle" was originally penned in to go immediately prior to "Long Song Titles," however it was unfortunately omitted.]
Upon CIS's conclusion, a friend insisted we move to the side for World/Inferno Friendship Society, who I didn't mind from what I heard previously but wasn't adamant about. Their pogo-ing, overly rambunctious fans were cited as her reasons, so I politely declined having dealt with entirely worse before. Her insistence quickly became veiled demand; I caved after I heard the words "fake blood" passively mentioned by another acquaintance, one donned in a snazzy suit entirely intended for watching the performance in.

Great advice. When the well-dressed World/Inferno sauntered onto the stage and wailed into the first of 10 songs, "Tattoos Fade," the crowd surged forward and a well-populated dance pit immediately formed. Judging from the number of fans in attendance I'd say World/Inferno is one of the most well-drawing bands in the NYC punk circuit; I honestly had no idea. They were rather diverse, too; mohawk-topped punks, suspender-clad Oi! dudes, dressed up nü-goths and the apparently standard three-piece suits could be spotted from any angle. The suave moves of frontman Jack Terricloth gave me an entirely unexpected Morrissey vibe; was this guy really in Sticks and Stones? I guess so, I thought as I watched would-be guest vocalists and washed up crowd surfers playfully shoved by Terricloth back into the cavernous sandpit of chaos on the floor. While I was glad to be out of the reach of flying globs of red dye and general insanity ensuing, the band did musically intrigue me, its brass-fueled carnival stomps and all. The kick line and deathly catchy refrains in "Only Anarchists Are Pretty" particularly stuck in my mind. Some of the other songs in the 40-minute set included "Zen and the Art of Breaking Everything in This Room" and "Fiend in Wien." Oh, and the accordion player was apparently not present.

Now, while it may be a minor detail to most, I believe just the way Lifetime opened their set proves their full-time status: There's no better way to say "we're an active band and we're supporting a new record" than playing its single first. Yep, "Airport Monday Morning" led it off, in all its double-time verse and super pop chorus glory. Gusre, the band will always play the oldies (even the *real* oldies), but I thought that was a real statement. Lifetime's other songs got some pretty positive responses from the crowd too; not nearly as well as the Jade Tree era of course, but I couldn't hear any heckling -- so if fans were jilted by the new album, they either didn't show it or show up altogether. I thought it was funny that "Francie Nolan" immediately followed "Just a Quiet Evening," since the latter seems to reference the former's quick vocal buildup/burst at one point. Ari Katz still has that overly lazy stage presence/energy á la the Bouncing Souls' Greg Attonito, but Lifetime as a whole have definitely tightened up in general the last two years or so since reforming. As you can see from the set list below, it was well-rounded in addition to being performed well. I really would have loved to hear "Yeem's Song for Nothing," "All Night Long," and "Records at Nite" for the first time each, but hey, if full-time status is for real after all, I'm sure this won't be my last opportunity to see them.

Set list (11:05-11:48):
  1. Airport Monday Morning
  2. Turnpike Gates
  3. The Boy's No Good
  4. Rodeo Clown
  5. -----
  6. Daneurysm
  7. Just a Quiet Evening
  8. Francie Nolan
  9. Haircuts and T-Shirts
  10. -----
  11. Young, Loud, And Scotty
  12. Irony Is for Suckers
  13. -----
  14. Song for Mel
  15. (The Gym Is) Neutral Territory
  16. -----
  17. Knives Bats New Tats
  18. Ostrichsized
  19. Encore:
  20. Bobby Truck Tricks
  21. 25 Cent Giraffes
  22. * - "Northbound Breakdown" was somewhere in here as well