A Canadian publication called Rum And Bass Magazine just published an article reviewing Canadian Juggalo Weekend, which as you are probably aware happened just over a week ago. It sounds like it was a couple of days that you Canadian ninjas should NOT have missed! The reviewer, DJ Burn, showed every artist (save the 2 Live Crew) nothing but love about their performances!
There were a few oddities, such as ICP’s headlining performance having to end by 9 PM, a last-minute venue change, etc, but all of these paled in comparison to the flavor that was the First Annual Canadian Juggalo Weekend!
You can read Burn’s full review below. From RumAndBassMagazine.ca:
Invasion Of The Juggalos
Not your typical music festival, the Canadian Juggalo Weekend, a two-day music and entertainment event hosted by Detroit-based hip-hop legends Insane Clown Posse, descended on the Marquee Beer Market last weekend. The CJW was a weird, campy and hugely entertaining gong show that left hard-core ICP fans and newbies alike sticky and satisfied.
Truly strange bedfellows
The reason for ICP’s longevity and popularity (they’ve been dropping albums since the 80s) is no secret. Their fans, known as Juggalos, feel they’re part of a movement, and most come sporting the band’s trademark clown make-up and horror-movie costumes. The participatory aspect of ICP’s concerts foster a sense of inclusion and belonging. Middle-aged ladies in fishnets and face paint cavort alongside bare-chested teenage hillbillies, while guys with grey beards and clown noses share spliffs with young Juggalettes. Through it all, the chants of “FA-MI-LY! FA-MI-LY!” with which they proclaim their allegiance to each other sound completely heartfelt.
The atmosphere was friendly and the crowd – bigger, noisier and drunker on Saturday than Friday – clearly enjoyed the revelry. Despite the raucous antics, there were no significant tussles or security incidents. The assembly reacted well to all of the artists, whose performances ranged from inspired to (in only one instance) perfunctory. Only 2 Live Crew, the briefly-notorious Miami bass progenitors from the 80s, didn’t fully commit, relying on X-rated banter with the crowd to distract from their disjointed performance.
The lineup was effectively crafted to appeal to the Juggalo ear. One of its strengths was its mix of new and old school acts, local and American talent, and music and spectacle. Fans of hip-hop’s golden era of the 80s and 90s were treated to Onyx, 2 Live Crew, Swollen Members and a standout set from the Original Gangster himself, Ice-T. The latter demonstrated ease in front of the crowd, cracking jokes, throwing big-ups to the city, and rapping his best call-and-answers. He even brought a super-fan (yours truly) on stage to serve as hype man, after some good natured teasing.
One of the hottest young Canadian rappers, Merkules, delivered his performance like it was the biggest show of his career, leaving many convinced he’ll be a headliner at future events. Local talent was well represented by Doom Squad, Alberta Murderaz and others. The biggest generic departure came from metal band Kissing Candice, whose adrenaline-fueled thrash resonated with the crowd thanks in part to their nightmarish costumes and stage imagery. ICP label mates Lyte and Big Hoodoo, and others such as Kung Fu Vampire, put in solid supporting performances.
As well as the main stage in the club there was a festival tent with a full-size ring that hosted both wrestling matches and performance artists Visha Loo and Lady O. The latter delivered one of the creepier performances of the weekend, an unsettling combination of contortionism and camp horror.
Can you steal your own show?
The most unforgettable performances of the weekend came from the Insane Clown Posse itself. Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope’s stagecraft and appreciation for their fans’ tastes resulted in a spectacle mesmerizing to hard-core Juggalos and casual fans alike. The Posse unleashed a phantasmagoria of strobe lights, circus-costumed extras, and horror movie props, and, of course, the Faygo. Gallons and gallons of the iconic soft drink were sprayed, dumped and showered over the crowd, literally immersing them in the performance.
ICP’s sound leans toward boom-bap, with big drums overlaid with creepy organs and atmospheric samples. Their lyrics have shifted from horrorcore to more mainstream over their career, and the playlists for Friday and Saturday night reflected it. Shaggy and Violent J are veterans of hundreds of huge shows and understand what their audience came for.
Next year: return of the Juggalos?
The event was not without logistical hiccups. A last-minute venue change from the Stampede Corral meant underage fans had to be contented with a full refund. It also caused less-than-ideal timing for some acts. Swollen Members appeared to have been rushed through their set, which ended abruptly, and ICP’s Friday-night performance wrapped up shortly after 9:00 p.m., a decidedly early hour for the crowd. Bar staff were left struggling to clean up the lake of Faygo and confetti in time for another artist’s show, unrelated to the ICP event, later that night. However, the Posse simply moved the party down a few blocks and delivered a lengthy after-party set at Distortion Live Music Venue.
The event was billed by ICP as the “first annual” Canadian Juggalo Weekend, suggesting that they plan to repeat its success next year. For local Juggalos and all fans of music and partying, we can only hope the CJW is back in 2018, bigger and, if possible, weirder than before.