Telling your friends about the Insane Clown Posse (ICP) normally has social suicide written all over it. However, as a critic of music and culture, one could imagine the possibilities posed by Thursday night’s performance at The Rave.
There is a definite charm to these assholes, though. Whatever it is, reviewers can’t quite put their finger on it. Nevertheless, there is a resilience and dedication about Juggalos on par with the Deadhead community.
These carnies, Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, are long past their prime, yet somehow there are still living, breathing human beings who get amped-up with refrains like “Suck my nuts/Bitch/Fuck you!”
Arriving two hours late on purpose, my sole thought was, “Who’s this guy?” as ABK (Anybody Killa) stood poised in front of a crowd eager to get down with the clown. I missed the other openers, because, well, if I had gotten there any earlier, I’d have lost any remaining self-respect before the ICP came on.
With their first two songs (“Hocus Pocus” and “My Axe”), ICP shattered every imaginable social norm into a million bloodied pieces. By my estimation, the set list looked like either a poem addressed to a hooker or the confession of a grade-schooler before any real cognitive development.
In hindsight, it didn’t much matter what songs they played, because throughout their entire set, the band and road crew drenched the audience in a fire-hydrant stream of Faygo soda (a cheap, elementary gag that, for whatever reason, never seems to get old for these face-painters). Apparently none of this was overkill, because they made room for two “Faygo breaks” during 14-song set.
With rhymes about murder, necrophilia and cannibalism, you kinda had to be there. If you’ve ever had a fingernail caught in your teeth that wasn’t your own, then “Dead Body Man” was probably more memorable to you than it was for me.
The same went for the other modified nursery rhymes, including “The Show Must Go On,” “Let’s Go All the Way,” and “Fuck the World.” Maybe if they had taken the nihilist route a little more seriously, the end of the joker’s-card prophecy wouldn’t have had such a bummed-out Christian message for its fans (the equivalent of Marilyn Manson getting baptized).
The real kicker came in the form of set closer “If I Was A Serial Killer,” to which I must ask; Why would that thought even cross someone’s mind?
In the end, it seems as though the ICP themselves are their own worst enemy when it comes to validity. If they took half the money they spend on Faygo and used it for something else (a live band or a less-depraved worldview come to mind), they might have some integrity.