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Notes From A Peaceful Revolution: Insane Clown Posse at Sonar, Dec. 6

December 7, 2009

| Image by Josh Sisk

If not a revolution, then at least a movement. The Juggalo “family,” fans of the Insane Clown Posse but much more, has the sort of unity and allegiance that doesn’t exist elsewhere in music. You’d be pressed to call it an aesthetic movement—there is something political and social to it, even if “it” doesn’t know it yet. Whether that’s about class, ideology, or religion, no matter—it exists, and it almost filled up Sonar last night. Some observations:

  • Juggalos, many of them anyhow, seem to really not like the opener, Hed(pe), which is a big, anthemic rap-metal band with paint-stripping breakdowns, despite said band sporting evil-clown face paint. Its last song is recognizable from a ’90s freestyle skiing video. Basically a cast-off/has-been of the Limp Bizcuit era, Hed(pe) seems to have gotten a defib shock from ICP in getting called up to open this tour.
  • Every Juggalo outside is willing and eager to bum out cigarettes, but absolutely all of them smoke menthols.
  • ICP songs are based on hooky choruses and not much else. Raps are monotone, and the rest of the production seems to be ragged bass, though its loud enough in Sonar that some of the finer points could have been drowned out.
  • There is a corner/edge of the room occupied by respected Baltimore music heads, including Dan Deacon and folks from bands such as Ponytail, Nautical Almanac, and Oak. At least a few are ecstatic.
  • It can’t be stressed enough how much soda is flying around Sonar. It’s one two-liter after another—shaken, sprayed, and tossed out in the crowd to be sprayed some more. It’s all diet Faygo root beer, which, by the end, you can smell strongly. It gets more and more intense, and everyone in the crowd is soaked in it, the band is soaked in it, the band’s evil dancing clown sidekicks are soaked in it, Ape Boy is soaked in it, Many Face is soaked in it. As people leave, they pose for photos holding armloads of empty bottles. An empty club reveals puddles/ponds of the stuff all over the floor, mixed with g-d-knows-what, and looking like thin diarrhea. And there are islands in the puddles, too, made of collapsed and disintegrated ceiling panels: maybe four or five of them collapsed during the show.
  • Metal fans are typically what I consider the friendliest fan group out there, but they’ve got nothing on Juggalos. Nothing.
  • Most people don’t have their face painted, and the crowd really just looks like an average crowd that would attend, say, a Limp Bizcuit show.
  • There’s a stack of City Papers by the door that look like everyone at the show, all 1,050 of them, peed on it.
  • ICP and Juggalos hate rednecks/trailer park people, bigots, and child molesters. To wit, “And within 20 minutes, here comes a fucking doctor/ Knocking on my door, a pedophile butt-knocker/ ‘Come in, have a seat,’/ and then I stroll in/ With the all-purpose hunting blade straight up his colon/ I cut his hands off, he ain’t touching nobody/ Chain him up by the foot in the basement, bloody.” As the band performs the song, “To Catch A Predator” (off this fall’s Bang! Pow! Boom!), it’s being acted-out on stage by two obviously of-age women dressed sexily, and the doctor in question is dressed kind of like a hipster. The representation is confusing. Also, the chorus to the song is “I’m prob’ly gonna burn for this/ Ain’t no lesson to learn from this/ There’s nothing Imma earn/ But it sure is fun.”
  • I’m immediately picked out of the crowd outside as someone with “those photographers,” which is somewhat true, and asked not to use his picture in anything in the newspaper. And as the photographers hunt around said crowd (including at least one Juggalo toddler, already an ICP concert veteran, it’s explained), chants of “family! family!” erupt.
  • I manage to accost two member’s of ICP’s road crew after the show, asking basically, “What is this like week after week?” One replies that he doesn’t want to get fired, but allows that it’s weird to be touring with “the most hated band in America.” The other, a clean-cut pro-looking fellow, responds enthusiastically that Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J and really nice guys and he’s been doing this since six Gatherings ago.
  • By the end of the show, the room is so humid and sticky with sweat, every surface is weeping with some kind of yucky condensation.
  • There are two semi trucks in front of Sonar, painted up with ICP graphics. One, I’m told, is dedicated to soda. Every performance requires two pallets of Faygo soda, more than 800 bottles.