Concert Reviews

Last Night: Insane Clown Posse and Coolio at Palladium Ballroom

Insane Clown Posse, Coolio
Palladium Ballroom
May 10, 2010

Better than:
being shot at by NBA All-star Dirk Nowitzki with a BB gun in an open field.

You can watch as many YouTube clips and Saturday Night Live parodies as you like, but there is really nothing that can prepare you for what it is like to take in an Insane Clown Posse concert in person.

Because, as Coolio put it early on in the night (yes, he opens for ICP these days), it's not so much a tour as it is a movement. And, like it or not, the audiences that go to ICP shows aren't so much fans as they are family. So much so, in fact, that any time an aging Coolio (he is only able to grow his trademark dreads on the sides of his head now) started to lose the crowd, it took nothing more than starting up a simple "family, family, family" chant to promptly win them back.

For better or worse, there is no bigger player at an ICP show than the band's soda of choice, Faygo. Even the music is secondary. And really I'm not sure what's more impressive, the fact that the cheap soda is such an integral part of the performance or just how skilled the duo is at launching the drink into the crowds.

Before the headliners took the stage I bumped into a friend who works at the Palladium and warned me there were are least 10 pallets of Faygo backstage, waiting to be drop-kicked, thrown, spewed, sprayed, shot from water guns, and poured from buckets onto an audience that absolutely reveled in being utterly drenched from head to toe in the stuff. Even in a venue as large as the Palladium, a skilled soda-shooter like Shaggy had little problem launching 2-liter bottles like rockets into the very back rows.

Just picture a wicked version of that viral video where the two scientists keep dropping sleeves of Mentos into Diet Coke bottles.

The entire spectacle was part of a larger, dark carnival-like atmosphere the duo tried to create: large, lighted ICP letters and a hatchet man decorated the stage; a costumed ringmaster introduced the group; and a half-dozen fellow clowns accompanied the duo onstage, dancing and spraying the crowd with soda, streamers, confetti, chicken feathers.
Other high points included renditions of "The Great Milenko" and the oft-parodied "Miracles."

But, in all seriousness, Faygo was the real star of the show.

For the group's final number, an extended version of "Bang! Pow! Boom!," ICP was joined onstage by members of each of the opening bands to finish dispersing the rest of their soda supply. The smell of cheap soda was strong as the massive amounts of carbonation created cloud of mist over the audience and the sounds of 2-liter bottles made loud thuds as they ricocheted off the walls.

After realizing there wouldn't be an encore, we got out of there quick, all the while thankful that we weren't one of the unlucky souls being hired to clean the place up. 

Critic's Notebook
Random Note:
This concert boasted the most shirtless people, as well as the most people wearing costumes (including a guy dressed as a giant whoopee cushion) that I've ever seen as a concert.

For Better or Worse: ICP are genius marketers. Not only did everyone feel like family, but several had Psychopathic records-related tattoos. Nearly everyone at the venue was either wearing or buying merch.

By The Way: Juggalos come in all shapes, sizes, races--and ages. Not only did I see several elementary-aged kids in the crowd, but I also saw one old ninja who had to have been in her 60s.