Juggalos gathered in their masses on Tuesday night, packing the National Western Complex with mayhem-loving maniacs in makeup to worship the one and only Insane Clown Posse and alt-metal innovators in Mushroomhead.
The fall Shockfest tour, which also features a rebuilt lineup of Three Six Mafia (now called Da Mafia 6ix), delivered a crushing five hour blast of bass and Faygo that left the floor of the arena an inch deep in sticky root beer. Openers Madchild and Jellyroll got the night going early, but Mushroomhead’s set cranked the energy up to a blistering level of awesome.
Showing off the new masks that debuted on this summer’s Mayhem tour (my review of that show here), J-Mann, Skinny, St1tch and the rest ripped through new songs Qwerty and Our Apologies before dropping into classic Mushroomhead favorites Sun Doesn’t Rise and Solitare/Unraveling. Fans in the crowd rocked t-shirts and masks in support of the band, a rare sight for an ICP tour where the fanbase is usually extremely faithful to Juggalo-branded acts like Twiztid and Dark Lotus.
Mushroomhead absolutely crushed every second of their set, vocalist Waylon crowdsurfing and even crowd-walking several times, while his masked bandmates hammered on hypnotically beautiful water drums and tossed out treats from jack-o-lanterns on stage. The group also rocked glowing blacklight body paint for a spooky effect that made the entire stage look like a game of skeleton Lazer-tag. All nine band members switched to identical jack-o-lantern masks for their patented closing number, a combination of Pink Floyd cover Empty Spaces and the riff-heavy, religion-bashing Born Of Desire, finishing up with the crowd headbanging and roaring in support.
But for all the love that Mushroomhead got, the night clearly belonged to Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J. Before the duo even hit stage, the force of the crowd began straining the front barricades, and security quickly crammed in a dozen guards and volunteers to simply hold back the barricades with their body weight as the Juggalo army eagerly pushed forward.
It took nearly two minutes of rapping through Night Of The Chainsaw before Violent J popped off his first Faygo cap and tossed the bottle into the crowd, but from that point on there was a near constant shower of foaming root beer showering the front rows and blasting as far back as the soundboard, occasionally supplemented by extra clowns tossing confetti, toilet paper rolls, and of course, much, much more Faygo.
ICP ran through over 20 songs, including classics like Tilt-A-Whirl, Birthday Bitches, and Assassins. The pair have their act down to a science at this point in their careers, flawlessly trading off verses and egging each other on, including a full-blown Faygo fight that saw both clowns get a faceful of soda from each other.
Zombie clowns tossing buckets of Faygo also made an appearance to continue the tour’s Halloween theme, notable in its own right for how every act on the tour brought along special props and costumes in a genuine display of creativity and effort that ICP has become renown for.
A highlight of the night was classic hit F*ck The World, as Violent J and Shaggy offered “f*ck you”s to everyone imaginable, including victims of the Titanic and “all 52 states.” The five minute track offered a microcosm of the entire live ICP experience; Faygo-soaked fans revelling in profane absurdities, raising their middle fingers, and dancing along to the booming music like only Juggalos do.
As usual, the show wrapped up with Juggalo VIPs invited on stage to help finish off the final couple of hundred bottles of Faygo, an otherworldly experience that utterly soaked anyone and everyone anywhere near the stage in a glorious, unending orgy of rocketing soda bottles and root beer wash-downs as Violent J and Shaggy MCed through Bang! Pow! Boom!
Anyone who has witnessed an ICP show in person knows exactly what I’m talking about; anyone who has not can’t possibly comprehend the experience secondhand. The members of Insane Clown Posse have created an enormous, outrageous, all-encompassing universe to call their own, and Tuesday night’s show saw every ticketholder (as well as venue staff, security, and Denver police officers) invited and enveloped into that wacky, nihilistic and root beer-drenched world. Whether lifelong Juggalo or first time curiosity seeker, everyone at the Western National Complex had a killer time on Tuesday night as Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope continue to run the facepainted rap game in their own unique and twisted ways.