Down with the clown: This is what happened when Insane Clown Posse came to Calgary
Calgary, AB – On July 12, Detroit horrorcore duo and Psychopathic Records founders Insane Clown Posse (ICP) came through Calgary to perform a show at Marquee Beer Market & Stage.
It’s been around a decade since ICP last came through Canada due to criminal record issues. But they finally announced their Canada-wide tour this year and the Canadian juggalo community let out a collective “WHOOP! WHOOP!”
ICP is known as much for their live performance as they are for their music and juggalo following. For every show that Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope perform, they show up with several hundred two-litre bottles of Faygo soda (which is headquartered in their home state of Michigan). I should note that Faygo doesn’t actually endorse Insane Clown Posse. But they sure make a killing off the guys.
As Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope perform, they open up bottles of Faygo and hose down the crowd. This is known as “Faygo showers.” Sometimes the guys just open up the bottles and toss them into the audience. And they also have costumed assistants who periodically replenish the on-stage stash of Faygo, and dump entire buckets of the soda on to the crowd. It’s the ultimate one-sided water fight. Except Faygo is the ammo. It’s sickly sweet and it’ll leave you sticky, wet, and baptized in the warmth of the juggalos.
Insane Clown Posse’s Violent J sprays Faygo into the crowd | Photo by Sarah Jay
When you tell people you’re going to an ICP show, they kind of just give you this look… like “Really? Why, though?” Granted I’ve only attended a couple of juggalo shows at this point. But from my experience, juggalos are very polite and considerate, compared to the crowds that usually come through non-juggalo rap shows. I feel safer in a room full of painted up clowns than I do in most live music venues on any given day of the week.
As I was walking up to the venue, a dude even offered me a free ticket to the show. He’d (unknowingly?) bought a ticket for a friend who had a huge fear of clowns. So he just brought the extra ticket with him to hand off to someone who wanted to see the show.
That’s the mentality behind the culty “FAM-I-LY! FAM-I-LY!” chant you’ll hear at most juggalo shows. There’s a feeling of inclusion and acceptance. No matter who you are, you can be a juggalo and you’ll be embraced and loved by the community. Even if it’s just for the night. I mean… apparently my former city councillor Brian Pincott (who currently represents Ward 11 in Calgary) was at the show. I hope the dude bought some Hatchetgear to rep at council meetings. Whoop! Whoop!
On that note, Insane Clown Posse (and all of Psychopathic Records, for that matter) are super smart at their marketing. These days you have to be able to sell merch to make a big profit. And ICP’s fanbase thrives on merchandise. T-shirts are $40. Jerseys are almost $200. And fans cop all of that. I recently read an interview where ICP spoke about their fans and said that juggalos tend to be overlooked by mainstream media. The guys claim that one juggalo fan is equivalent to at least ten people. And it’s true. One juggalo fan is definitely equivalent to 10 (if not more) run-of-the-mill music fans. It’s about quality over quantity.
Too often I hear guys moan on about how they have thousands of followers on social media but no one actually buys their records or listens to their music. That’s because music fans are apathetic AF. But that’s not the case at all with ICP. Guaranteed if ICP releases their own deckbuilding game, people will cop that. If they release a dangly Hatchetman belly-button ring, girls will definitely cop that. And if they offer up a $100 meet-and-greet, fans will definitely cop that (and they did).
Photography by Sarah Jay
Huge thank you to our friends over at True Rhythm for letting us take part in this show. It’s a pleasure to know you guys and to be able to work with you. Salute!
Written by Sarah Jay for HipHopCanada