Thursday, May 20, 2010


Saw them last night with my buddy Derek at the Electric Factory here in Philly. First off, I was jazzed that I got free on-street parking right around the corner in front of the Red Cross building. Yep, I'm officially middle-aged. Getting excited over a parking place. Christ, I might as well hike my pants up to my sternum.

Anyway, I caught the last two songs by the first opening act, Necro. Two guys on stage with an iPod. Not too bad. Hardcore stuff you would except at an ICP show. And their profanity-laced banter seemed to go over well with the crowd.

After their set ended, a black curtain was drawn across the stage. Near the back of the venue, up a stairwell for all to see was Mike E. Clark, ICP's legendary producer (who has also worked with House Of Pain and Kid Rock). Dressed in a white lab coat and kamikaze goggles, he DJ'ed with help from his MacBook. With most of his thinning mop of hair dyed clown-red, he entertained the crowd for about ten minutes.

All-female metal band, Kittie, from Canada, were up next. Many of their songs sounded the same, probably due to the fact that they didn't pause between most songs, but lead singer / rhythm guitar player Morgan Lander made up for it with bleach-blond Pink-ish haircuit; plus she was working those black biker shorts. I liked their set so much, I downloaded their latest from eMusic.

Next up was Coolio. Pretty pathetic. He had three relatives up there with him and a banner in the background of GANGSTER'S PARADISE (what was that, like 10 years ago?). At 46, his voice is shot. I think he needed backup to pull off a live performance. Of course, it didn't help that at least 20 minutes of his 45-minute set consisted of banter. And I felt bad for his son, who was up there, because they called him AI, for Artificial Intelligence, since -- in Coolio's words -- "he's dumb." Poor kid. Born into a bad family. Oh, and when Coolio did "Gangster's Paradise", I couldn't help but think of Weird Al's "Amish Paradise". Mucho superior in my mind.

Thankfully, Coolio and his low-ambition crew left the stage. Mike E. Clark came back for his third set on the opportunely-located stairwell platform. I don't remember if it was during this set or when he had "performed" between Kittie and Coolie that he played ICP's "Chop Chop Slide". Fascinating to watch. It involves a lot of audience participation. The crowd hit all the right notes. Amazing!

Eventually, the last opening act, the Kottonmouth Kings, hit the stage. They seemed to be a bunch of stoners. Apparently the crowd loved them, with a number of their songs being about weed. Whatever, what am I, in the seventh grade?

Mike E. Clark didn't entertain the audience after the eternity of the Kottonmouth's hour set. Insane Clown Posse hit the stage around eleven o'clock.

ICP have been a guilty pleasure for the past five or so, even since my friend Derek turned me on to them. Their frequent use of the word "bitch" turns my liberal ass off, but Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope are good rappers, and their mythology of the Dark Carnival is fascinating. But I gotta hand to them, they really know how to put on a show. They go through all the hits (hardly any tunes from their latest, Bang Pow Boom). Songs I recognized were "Homies", "Let's Go All the Way", "Tilt-A-Whirl", "The Neden Game", "Serial Killer", "Fuck the World" and "Miracles". Gotta give 'em props for doing "Miracles", especially after SNL parodied it.

Proving that it was a white-trash event, throughout the show, ICP showered the crowd with Faygo soda (smelled like root beer, for the most part) and occasionally shooting out confetti. I don't know, I thought it would've been a better show if they would've practiced a little moderation with the Faygo and confetti.

All in all, I'm glad I went. I felt like an anthropologist in the clown-ish inner city. Definitely a different scene. And they finished with "Bang! Pow! Boom!", from their most recent full-length. A nice ten-minute ditty to end a white-trash event.

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