Sensory Overload

Et tu, Juggalo?: My Insane Clown Posse experience

Posted by Brad Keefe | November 01, 2010 10:13 AM

ICPIncorporated.jpg Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope of Insane Clown Posse I don't know why, but I've always not-so-secretly wanted to attend an Insane Clown Posse show. Morbid curiousity? Sociological experiment? Desire to find out what spawns such a rabid fanbase?

Well, I got a sampling on Friday night at the LC. And it left a bad taste in mouth. I think it was Faygo.

My concert buddy and I arrived fashionably late to an already packed LC. This wasn’t just any ICP show (I guess). This was Hallowicked, which is just like any other ICP show, only it takes place around Halloween.

My first thought upon entering? Wow, this floor sure is sticky! Faygo-related, I’m guessing.

My second thought? Wow, that is one of the biggest merch booths I have ever seen in my life! I counted about 80 different shirts, plus assorted hoodies and hockey jerseys, all bearing ICP or another act on their label, Psychopathic Records.

Why so many T-shirts, you ask? Well, it appears to be the only sort of clothing ICP fans — aka Juggalos — use to protect themselves from the elements. There were a fair share of Halloween costumes on hand, of course — mostly nightmarish clowns that looked like they should be on sex offender registries. But if you weren’t wearing a costume, you were wearing a shirt featuring a Pscyhopathic artist. The memo that it is somehow uncool to wear a shirt of the band on the bill to the show never reached this audience.

I was struck by how homogeneous the crowd was, and how homogeneous the music coming from the stage was. We caught two openers — Boondox and Axe Murder Boyz, I believe — both of which virtually indistinguishable from the headliners to this reporters ears.

I was starting to realize that this shared experience is where that infamous Juggalo loyalty comes from. They segregate themselves in appearance, and listen primarily to the subsection of rap that ICP pioneered (for lack of a better word). I can’t help but wonder what percentage of the disposable income of your average Juggalo ends up back in ICP Incorporated.

There certainly is an uncanny kinship (Juggalos greeting one another with “woop! woop!” took a little getting used to). But I found the culture to be not particularly welcoming and bearing more misplaced anger than I was expecting, even with the violent content of ICP’s lyrics. I’ll put it this way. I saw people grinning ear-to-ear during the recent Slayer show at the LC — musically as angry and aggressive at it gets. I didn’t see that here.

We found ourselves on the floor as Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope of ICP took the stage around 11 p.m. (after crowd chants of “Fa-mi-ly! Fa-mi-ly!” that sort of creeped me out). There was a palpable burst of energy that hit me from the crowd. Also hitting me? The cheap corn-syrupy feel of Faygo sprayed from 2 liter bottles onstage.

ICP’s late start coupled with the fact that we were clearly the only people in the house planning to see Sleigh Bells at BoMA later that night meant we had to cut out early in the ICP set. Unfortunately, I may never find out how f---ing magnets work.

This is a family, all right. Just not one I want to visit for the holidays.

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