Friday Night: Insane Clown Posse at the Warfield

Categories: Last Night, Music
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Richard Haick Photography

Insane Clown Posse
November 13, 2009
The Warfield

Better Than: Starlight Express

Check out more in this Insane Clown Posse @ The Warfield slideshow!

It's tough to top an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical about a boy's toy train that comes to life. But this is the feat that the Insane Clown Posse managed to achieve with its carnival-esque (literally) performance at the Warfield on a brisk Friday the 13th. Thirty minutes before the horror/humor rap duo of Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope took the stage, a packed crowd of rabid fans hungry for clown ambulated. One vertically challenged clown woman tapped the shoulder of a reporter in the midst of a warm-up beat box and asked him to move out of the way so she could have a better view of the empty stage where VJ and S2D would soon spill verbal blood and unleash their duel-headed beat murder. Before the lights went down, chants of "ICP, ICP, ICP" rang out at deafening volume, the dookie braids of male fans, aka Juggalos, bouncing in rhythm to the hungry chorus.

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Richard Haick Photography

Finally, a man clad in a top hat and suit in the manner of a carnival barker stepped to the center of the stage, which had been transformed into a carnival sideshow mock up. Pumping the crowd, he introduced two furry-suited humanoids positioned in cages flanking both sides of the stage as 'Many Faces' and 'Ape Boy.' Thankfully, no one from the San Francisco chapter of PETA was at the show to protest the exploitation of a caged man dressed as an ape. Shortly thereafter, the heavy beats and metal melodies that comprise the ICP sound uncorked over the crisp PA as an array of disorienting, blinding, flashing lights fired off, a spectacle that in another context might have called for anti-seizure medication.

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Richard Haick Photography

When VJ and S2D finally skipped onstage, the roar of the crowd would have overpowered any London theater audience's cheers for Rusty and Greaseball during a Starlight Express curtain call. Within moments of uncorking their horrorcore rhymes--that riff on the Halo-weaned generation's normative topics of cannibalism, dismemberment, respectfully making love to women, and peacefully resolving disputes that have the potential to turn violent--VJ and S2D demonstrated they're not just at the forefront of their genre, they're showmen and dancers with terpsichorean skills galore.

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Richard Haick Photography
As VJ and S2D bounced along with a cavalcade of dancing sideshow freaks and the aforementioned 'Many Faces' and 'Ape Boy,' the lyrical assassins made ample use of the hundreds of 2-liter bottles of Faygo. ICP's soda of choice was positioned in brightly-colored barrels around the stage, and the band shook them up, then tossed or clown-booted the soda, sending the carbonation-fueled projectiles rocketing over the crowd, ejaculating their sugary contents all over the clown-painted faces of those gathered on the floor while they chanted along to every rhyme. Not even the world's strongest straight jacket could contain the enthusiasm of this insane posse of clowns. Faygo continued to rain throughout the duration of the show and the crowd licked up every last money shot of soda, clearly thrilled to be part of the circus for a night.

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Richard Haick Photography
Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias:
Where can I start on this one? When they heard I was going to see ICP, every member of my grade school beat boxing ensemble messaged me on Facebook asking what ill beats I would drop while watching the show.

Wonders How: 'Alternative' came to mean the same thing as 'unimaginative.'
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