My whole fucking life this year has been clowns: god damn rapping-ass clowns and clown babes with their asses spread over the maybe-corpses of assy clown dudes. Tonight’s show is the only logical climax to this bizarre wave I’ve been bad special FX surfing like Kurt Russell in Escape From L.A. I cannot wait. Call me Plissken. Call me Snake. Call me some different name every scene, I don’t care, I am no longer here; slick and numb with the suspended egos of a common cause repped by social ghosts and their faces slashed with black so they know they yet live. I have not shelved anything.
ICP’s first visit to Australia in ten years has thrown up a rotisserie of weird Qs for the uninitiated: What are they gonna do? There’s only two of them and no band. And hey are there even Australian Juggalos? There are. Nothing like at a legit Gathering—plain faces outnumber painted faces—but not by big numbers. I’m standing in front of two of them on the way in. In truth they are more like Juggabros, their voices unconsciously loud and thick with defeatist suburban upbringings. I take photos of them and they love it. They’re okau. We try to sing the refrain from “Hate Her to Death” together, which is actually a good song and at that moment our prostates come into contact.
Juggalo culture is the super unlikely by-product of Insane Clown Posse stonerising into existence, and I am fascinated by all of it. Not many subcultures end up growing legs and casting a shadow over their spawning pool. In my weird quest to learn the song of the clown people I have instead learned this is where Mr. and Ms. Outside go: those people who fit nowhere might daub themselves in harlequin greasepaint and that is all it takes to be “down” with the FAM-I-LY! FAM-I-LY!
Sometimes it doesn’t even take that. Just show up and don’t be a fuckface. In the States the whole Juggalo thing is entering uncharted hipster space and there are now “Juffalos,” their two Gs twisted into Fs for double the “fake.” Technically that is me—but everyone’s still really nice, also helpful. A young madman whose pores labour under a second Dulux skin pokes his head around the corner and declares, “If you’ve got stuff, take it now, they’re checking pockets and shit.”
There is more security here than I have ever seen at a concert. Coppers march up and down the block in their swaggering quartets; everyone gets frisked by security on the way in. Like, hands-quite-near-your-junk frisked. Inside, the walls breathe with Marlboro lungs and Juggalos let each other go in front to the bar so often they sometimes get into funny polite-offs. “No you go.” “No you.” “My good man, I simply must insist.” “Don’t be ludicrous, kind sir.” Both sides are being so accommodating neither party gets a wine and that is when I strike. Later someone will ask me, “What was it like in there?” and I will tell them, “It was the safest I have ever felt in a room full of really unsafe-looking people.”
One of the opening acts is a local guy and he must be mentioned right now. He just plays other artist’s well-known songs and yells shit about clowns over the top of them. He hasn’t even messed with them: he is just legitimately a guy yelling at the radio. He’s called his DJ “Rob Zombie,” which is already taken by a very high profile person. The next example of #clowncore is Big Hoodoo, and he is black. That doesn’t matter, but it’s notable because 99% of the room is the opposite of black and it makes me mind-draw a Juggalo race pie graph. It’s a one-slice pie.
This guy is an Uzi wordsmith. We’re picking up what he is putting down. I’ve got so much stuff in my hands. From nowhere, he busts out this line, louder than the rest: YO, I WAS SEXUALLY MOLESTED AS A CHILD. And then he goes on to vividly describe that abuse in rhyme. I drop all the things I’m holding. The next act is a big carnie with a cowboy hat on. His cool name is Boondox. He doesn’t talk about how rough daddy was which is good. Then ICP are in the house.
“I have a ticket to the after-party,” a cute blonde in spectacles tells me, then glances up at ICP and looks suddenly uncomfortable. “I’m not going, though. It’s uh…” She squints at them and the scrunch of her face decides she just couldn’t. “Girls only.”
She takes my hand and is adamant we push to the front and get covered in clown spermatozoa which, again, is what I feel is really being expressed whenever Violent J expertly uses the crook of his elbow and the ham of his fist to expunge a 1.5 litre soda load all over the front row and way beyond. The soda-throwing thing is out of control. They couldn’t get their Faygo through customs and it tastes like, I don’t know, Jolt or something. It never stops. And it’s not just Violent J. Shaggy 2 Dope is blowing huge fucking wads of jester jism into the mouths and hair of those who are down with the clown ‘til they in the ground.
Two people dressed up as demonic jesters enter stage left and right and start death-gripping their big plastic dicks, they go flying into the air and are instantly replaced by unseen hands. There is a chaos of landfill nightmare all over the floor within minutes. People get hit in the head. People fall over. A thousand dolphins are dead soon. Colonising Mars is the only way. We’re on it, but not soon enough: “Sorry it took us ten years to come back,” says Violent J. “We’ll see you in 2015… for The Gathering.”
Toby is a Sydney writer who enjoys talking to strangers. Follow him on Twitter: @jane_tobes