6 p.m. Thu., Oct. 5:
Doing some Insane Clown Posse research on Spotify.
I think I’ve discovered ICP’s main influence. Mother Goose’s hands are all over these raps. Some of them sound like straight-up nursery rhymes.
There is no way to hide from how bad some of this music is. However, at their worst, these clowns are at their most compelling. I can’t believe I’ve never heard any of this before. Kind of want to put it on at a party to see what happens.
Chickened out on my intended outfit. Was going to go in Peter Criss make-up. This unopened box of face paint will forever remind me of my cowardice ...
Outside First Avenue. There are Juggalo’s. They are “stoked.”
Remember P.O.D.? They’re opening.
This note details what could have been a way better angle for this article: Should I review P.O.D. without acknowledging that ICP headlined? I could mention the bizarre confluence of Juggalos and nu-metalheads, act like I left the concert early, and then let the commenters eat me alive
Juggalos not amused by reporter in Taylor Swift hat making notes in his moleskin.
Look, I know someone has to pay for all that Faygo soda, but I hate it when merch is prohibitively expensive. $30 for a T-shirt is way too much money. It’s a T-shirt! There are also ICP hockey jerseys ($150), work jackets ($160), and varsity jackets ($350).
There’s a family of Juggalos in matching Hatchet Man jerseys and face paint. The child is maybe 7 years old. That kid’s life forever. This show is all-ages, I should mention that.
The curtains are parting. I’m at an Insane Clown Posse concert. There are a ton of Faygo 2-liters on the stage. The Juggalo’s are freaking out.
The opening number is Faygo-free, mercifully, for the guys in the photo pit. Courteous of the clowns.
The first 2-liter has been opened and is spewing all over the crowd. I wonder if there’s a roadie whose job it is to shake up all these bottles? Soda is coming out with force.
OK, this is fun. There are a bunch of “scary” clowns in onesies onstage spraying what is now an absolutely ridiculous amount of Faygo at each other and on the crowd. Worried about diabetes ...
Shots fired! Violent J (that’s one half of ICP) just rapped “fuck your review.” Noted.
The chorus of this song is “fuck the world." What really grabbed my attention is the line “fuck the rain forest.” Feel less bad about my cultural tourism now.
By the front door now. A Juggalo mom, bless her heart, just asked the door guy how they clean up the Faygo mess. He does not seem amused with the proposition.
Juggalos in Dick Nixon masks on stage shooting Faygo on each other. Silly stunt or fiercely political theatre? The “fuck the rain forest” line from earlier makes me think the original interpretation was accidental.
This simple-seeming assignment is leaving me with so many questions to ponder and philosophical pretzels to untie. For instance: What does it mean to be a Jugglao, exactly? From what origin has Insane Clown Posse been divined to us? How many ounces of Faygo did I just witness shooting ceilingward? Has the budget-conscious beverage manufacturer considered a champagne flavor? Also, will one of these Juggalo’s accept my invitation to Red Lobster?
Some clowns just ran on stage with buckets full of cola and dumped them on the lucky souls up front.
Here’s a photo of a Juggalette who couldn’t get enough of the Faygo shower so she decided to dump an errant 2-liter over her head.
Met another reporter. Her name is Alex and she writes for a zine called No Friends. Bookmarking it. We discuss briefly how obvious it is that the Juggalos all hate us for reporting on them, how they all know we’re just going to say the thing they love is bullshit. Was happy to process this with someone.
Insane Clown Posse have a song called “I Fucked a Cop.” There are girls in Party City-esque “sexy cop” outfits on stage. It’s sort of like Lil Wayne’s "Mrs. Officer," but more juvenile. Serious Mother Goose-iness with the rhyme structure here. I know what the rhyme will be before it’s given every time, and I’ve never heard this song before.
Sexy cops hosed down with Faygo. Crowd loving it.
It’s fun to imagine some of these Juggalo’s at their sad, quiet little I.T. jobs. And then, once a year, they get to put the paint on and come out to something like this and finally be themselves completely. Life is beautiful.
I’ve got a note here that I cannot bring myself to add to the timeline. You see, Juggalo’s are people too. People living by codes and behavioral contracts that I myself do not understand and therefore feel I cannot pass judgement upon. There are dreams and ambitions buried behind the face paint. "Tears of a Juggalo" is the curt little slogan I’m trying to insert into this word salad.
This is like Danny’s dream in The Shining but with diet cola.
Taylor Swift hat be damned: I’m going into the pit.
You know that feeling when it’s January and you step off a curb into a slush puddle and your foot just gets enveloped in bullshit and you wish you had taken that sales job in California? I just had that, but with Faygo on the Mainroom floor. These socks are going in the garbage.
Almost got hit by a flying 2-liter. A Juggalo with better reflexes than I caught the thing out of the air and dumped the remaining liquid on his body. Clowns are reloading the pallets with even more soda. Just a relentless onslaught of Faygo now.
Got caught in the stream mid-note. At least 10 pages of my moleskin are ruined. A souvenir!
OK, I’m done with the pit now.
ICP has a song that sounds just like "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas. No one acknowledges it, but everyone has to be thinking this. Mozel Tov!
It’s the end of the show. Juggalo’s are invited on stage. Now everyone is spraying soda on each other. I’ve moved back at least 10 feet. This is really great. Everyone looks super happy.
The “family” chant is so authentically warm. Clowns forever! The show is over.
I’m not sure how to give you a takeaway.
This is a very unique rap group/ lifestyle brand. So unique, in fact, that I can draw no meaningful parallels to it in a world pregnant with entertainment options. There is absolutely no equivalent for the clowns, their Faygo-swilling worshipers, or the Gathering at which they commune.
Yes, Jimmy Buffet’s loyal Parrotheads have a look and a beverage of choice (flip flops, margaritas.) There are also now a few artist who have their own festivals; though I feel like it’d be insulting to the readers’ intelligence if I doled out the smorgasbord of differences between Justin Vernon’s Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival and the Gathering of the Juggalos.
This is all on a different level than I even imagined before stepping foot in ICP’s universe. You see, the Insane Clown Posse are not just in their own ballpark or playing a different sport than everyone else. They’re in another galaxy, playing a game in which I am unable to comprehend the rules.
I will not pretend to understand what I just saw but I can interpret it’s majesty with a photo of the wreckage — it’s a beautiful thing.