Juggalo Day 2014 Review

REVIEW by Hannah Monroe

It came as no surprise that Juggalo Day 2014 would sell out with a quickness. Less than 48 hours and tickets were sold to the max. 1700 plus juggalos would then wait with desperate anticipation for the highly publicized Great Milenko show. For many juggalos, this CD marked their introduction to the world of the Dark Carnival, this author included. Although the day would mingle in the unknown of the 15th annual Gathering and much debated confusion over ICP, Twiztid and Blaze’s cover photos being changed to that of the Dark Lotus hand sign, Juggalo Day soon took over its much deserved focus of all in attendance.

Columbus, OH became the destination of the fam, with many coming in from out of town. Many arrived early, including those from True Juggalo Family. The hot spot of all the partying became that of the Days Inn motel off 17th and I-71. I was not surprised by the look of dread and fear in the clerk’s eyes when checking it at 11pm on the 16th. I was bombarded with a series of questions on why we were all there, when the concert was, and when we would all be leaving. The night before the grand show was filled with family love, faygo cake made by the awesome Asset of TJF, and the first of several fire alarms being accidentally set off. Every room, nearly, was filled with Juggalos and everyone was living it up to the best of their ability. It is still debatable on how much sleep actually occurred. “Fuck yo sleep!” was definitely thrown around a lot by some of the guests.

While partying the night before Juggalo Day, those at the hotel would soon learn our “gang” label would mean we would be refused service from the nearby Domino’s Pizza. When calling in an order, once they discovered the address to the motel, they would then tell us the kitchen was closed, even though their store hours would state otherwise. But, seeing as how Juggalos are crafty determined people, it was soon learned that downloading the phone app would null and void their discriminatory denial of services because they could not deny an order already processed for payment. Hazin then took the honors of ordering through the app to get some pizza. We would have our pizza…no matter what! Unfortunately, it looked like shit.

The morning of Juggalo Day, it seemed the family reunion would reach the inner city local restaurants. More than 50 juggalos would venture off to Tee Jaye’s Country Place Restaurant for breakfast/lunch. The establishment served old fashion country breakfast and lunch at extremely reasonable prices. The wait staff were friendly and accommodating. They did not even panic as nearly the entire restaurant went outside to form together for a group photo. It should be mentioned that this experience alone should prove why Juggalos are not a gang. A) We all paid for our meals. B) We took the better portion of 10 minutes to merge into a line to take a single photo. And C) we all returned to finish our meals. It was of some hilarity when the checks began to arrive at tables because the restaurant did not total the bills which lead to many a joking remarks of “but Juggalos can’t do math!” LOL

After lunch, it was back to the hotel to get ready for the concert. This Juggalo Day would offered the option of VIP, as the Mighty Death Pop Tour and Hallowicked did previously, but I was surprised by how it was handled this time. There was some disappointments with the VIP. There was NO laminate to be had. I, for one, was very upset by this. Having received laminates for the other events, it had started somewhat of a new collection for me and I was excited to have one from this momentous event. Instead we were given McDonalds wrist bands on the left wrist to prove we were VIP. If it was lost, you were out of luck. We were given a free concert shirt, but that was it. No other freshness to be had. No stickers, no free CD’s. Now I’m not going to say I expect these things, but $100 is a lot of money for just about 2-5 minutes with the guys, a shirt and maybe being on stage at the end of the night. Just saying.

There were upsides though, we were allowed first purchase at the merch table. This was only after some of us, myself included, were highly vocal about wanting to purchase items before entering the VIP tarp. Billy then informed those working the merch booth to start selling to us. I, personally, thanked Billy. Honestly, I’m not sure many around me even knew who Billy was. Thank you Hazin for introducing me to him at Hallowicked! J Another benefit to being VIP was we did not have to return outside to come back in. Initially we had the choice to go bak out to drop off things then we would get to come right back in, but eventually, they stopped letting us go back outside. We were also able to have first pick on where we wanted to view the show.

Unfortunately, everyone else who was waiting for the show was forced to wait until VIP had reached its end before they would allow anyone else in. This meant everyone had to wait outside in what started as rain but then turned to sleet and hail at one point. This meant each and every Juggalo was stuck, wet and freezing before they entered into the music hall. The climate inside wasn’t much warmer. It seemed like the heat was either not on or set very low, causing it to be difficult to warm up. I felt really bad because I was inside and my fam was outside, Asset and Hazin. Sugar Slam had posted to twitter the night before she planned on kidnapping Hazin so I began trying to watch for her to get her attention. Unfortunately, even though she came out to get food with lil JJ, I wasn’t able to get her attention to go rescue them outside.

The meet and greet was quick and was videotaped by several people inside of it. My guess would be they intend to put portions of it into the DVD. I have never been very outgoing in front of a camera, so my meet and greet experience was very short and even a tab bit uncomfortable. They sectioned everyone into small groups of 4-5 people to go in. Chop was there to assist with taking pictures, as usual. I was the last of my group of 5 to speak with ICP. I was celebrating my 30thbirthday while at Juggalo Day so ICP was more than accommodating with signing a birthday card. The best part of my experience in this VIP was that Shaggy remembered me from some time we hung out back last May, during the MDP tour. He looked up while signing other people stuff and shouted out “Hey!” and pointed at me. This definitely got me shaking a bit. Shaggy and I talked about how I had been and not much more during the meet and greet. He initiated a hug with me and had no problem standing rather close with his arm actually touching me during the photo we took. Even back in May, he didn’t put his arm on me.

I realized I didn’t really talk to Violent J much during the experience. Sorry, J, nothing personal. I clam up around cameras so I didn’t hang out long in the room. I think the only thing I said to J was in response to him confirming I drove all the way there to be with them for my birthday, to which I said, “I wouldn’t have it any other way!” I’m not even sure if I gave J a hug. The whole experience was a blur because I was shocked Shaggy remembered me. Flattered and happy, but still shocked.

Now with excitement and adrenaline running through me, I waited for the show to begin. I stood and chatted with some new friends and watched as they began allowing everyone into the venue. It was very small for the amount of tickets sold. There were two floors, the main floor and a balcony that appeared to have some seating available, although I never made it upstairs to confirm this. I took a spot at the front of the stage on the left hand side, just in front of the left speakers. I really had the perfect spot because it was next to an elevated section with a railing and next to the front barricade. There was just enough room for little me to stand there. I had another smaller barricade in front of me, but it wasn’t anchored down. I was able to stand there most of the show and dance and enjoy myself without being pushed down or squished. I realized at this point it was my 20th ICP show and I had never been directly in front for one. It was decided at that point, I would maintain my space in front…at least for half of the show.

The first band out was a heavy metal band straight outta Detroit called Downtown Brown. They played maybe a handful of song but they were really excited to be there. The music was good, they clearly have talent, but I felt they needed to work a bit on the flow of their set. The lead singer seemed to only want to feature the bass guitarist. After the third time of doing this, even the bass guitarist could be seen growing frustrated. It would have been nice to see him offer the drummer a solo or even performing one himself.

Claas and Bukshot were up next. Claas started the set solo before being joined by Bukshot. Claas performed to expectation, keeping the crowd engaged. It was clear Claas was doing all of his own singing at nearly 100%, but when Bukshot came out, it seemed more of his singing was simply him talking over the audio playing. I was slightly disappointed in his performance. I was half expecting Boondox to come out for an impromptu Underground Avengers song, but to my dismay, it did not happen.

Like most juggalos in attendance, we waited to see if there was any announcement made relating to Dark Lotus. There were several songs by Dark Lotus played between sets and even one of Twiztid’s new songs off of their non-psychopathic release was played, at least in half. They were definitely doing a good job of keeping the suspense building in all of us.

Jumpsteady was the announcer for the entire evening. He gave a very long speech at one point with some amazing points. The best of what he said, “We at Psychopathic, we provide entertainment for ya’ll, that’s what we do. There is no greater joy for us at Psychopathic Records, to work and bust our ass every day to provide ya’ll with entertainment. And I love my job because of ya’ll.” After this, he introduced Big Hoodoo. Now I have seen a few sets now by big Hoodoo, including his performance at the 2013 Gathering of the Juggalos and the 2013 Hallowicked. This performance was free of large stage sets. Free of all the lights and props. I was unsure of how he would do minus all these factors as these had been the more entertaining parts of his sets in the past. As a new artist, it takes some time to understand how to engage a crowd…and some never figure it out.

Big Hoodoo had a stage presence like I have never seen before. I was thoroughly impressed with his ability to rise and own the stage as he did the night of Juggalo Day. He had a young man who was working with him throughout the set to bring out his Hoodoo dust and was also spreading glitter very enthusiastically about the stage, but Hoodoo himself, seemed to capture the heart of everyone in the room. I found myself entranced by his performance and was singing along before I even knew it. I am very proud of his ability to own the stage and really set the tone for ICP to follow. I was not a big Hoodoo fan at the beginning of the show, but I would definitely attend a solo show for him now. Keep it up man! You are on the right track. Whoop Whoop!

After his set, I waited with baited breath for ICP to start. I will say it is a whole new experience knowing exactly what the set will be from start to finish. There’s no real anticipation or expectation of will they play this song or will they play that. There’s no curiosity on what the flow will be like or if there will be a bunch of faygo breaks. It’s Juggalo Day and it’s the Great Milenko cd…there’s no faygo breaks. It was strangely comforting to know exactly how the rest of the night would go. I’m ocd and very stuck in routine so this was a brilliant experience for me. I was also taking a long trip down memory lane remembering that very first show at 14 years old, now 30, for the House of Horrors tour where the Great Milenko was just released. As with every show, the lights went out, the crowd began to chant and push…then the intro began. With the entire family singing along, it gave me goose bumps from head to toe.

The intro played with no one on the stage, then as the Great Milenko started Violent J came out. He sang and took a nice bow to the crowd before Shaggy’s part started. Shaggy was soon out on stage and slightly messing up his lyrics. I am sure it has been a long time since they sang some of these songs, especially since several have never been played in concert. The faygo started with the start of Hokus Pokus. Remember when I said the venue was cold…well, mix that with faygo that has been sitting outside in that freezing weather and you get ice cold faygo straight to the face. At one point, the faygo was coming out slightly slushy. It soaked through the several layers of clothing I had on, chilling to the bone. But I still stayed right where I was, enjoying every second of it.

The night went by way too fast. The songs went on and on, each with the whole family singing along. The clowns on stage were sporting new masks I had not seen before. It was constant faygo and love the whole show. The camera crews were everywhere capturing the whole event from start to finish. Kevin Gill was out among the fam talking and snapping pics. Sugar Slam could be seen throughout the night mingling with everyone. She even stopped to say hello to me after I moved to the left side to wait to go up for Faygo Armageddon. I am still amazed at how short and beautiful she is, complete sweetheart. As I waited out the last few songs before the ending song, I stood on a small landing all the way on the left. This gave me a perfect view above the crowd.

My favorite songs of the night were How Many Times and Under the Moon. Under the Moon is a very special song for me. It is just one of those songs that I’ve always loved and I’ve found myself quoting the chorus many times in reference to people that mean a lot to me. I almost cried during that song, believe me the power of hearing that song live brought me very close. I was happy after that Chop had taken a short video of it and posted it online. Thank you for that!!!!!

What I did not expect was the ambush of people when security started allowing people up for Faygo Armageddon. This guy next to me was very adamant that he was getting up on stage. He kept interrupting my focus on the concert to tell me how I was not making it up because he and his buddies were getting up there. I was so soaked in faygo that I really didn’t care, but his rudeness was appalling. Dude, we are family…we don’t treat each other like that. He started pushing on the crowd from on top of this landing. He almost knocked over one of the smaller girls who was in the VIP room with me. At this point, I pulled him over to me and told him if he knocked her over I would put him on the floor. There’s only so much rudeness I can tolerate. He soon got down and stopped pushing on everyone. I decided it was best I did not go up on stage after dealing with him. I watched the night come to a close with tears in my eyes. It was a very emotional end because the feeling in the room just took over. There was magic and love everywhere I looked. Faygo rain, confetti, and a bunch of glistening soaked bodies. It really was a home coming for all of us.

We all returned to the motel. Showers and all around warm up were in order. We all had soaked shoes and clothes. We debated on going to the after party. We each had tickets, but lacked the motivation to go back outside into the cold. After much deliberation and a few people stopping by to kick it, it was determined we would not be making the formal after party. It was a blessing in hind sight because it was reported Boondox did not do well with his set, ABK was good, but ICP did not go to the after party. Instead, it was another full on party in the TJF room.

There were many visitors and many pictures taken. Hazin decided to take pictures of everyone that came to the room. It was a full on juggalo party complete with all our normal family extra-curricular activities. We ordered more pizza from Dominos through the app.  As we waited, there was some discussion on playing a practical joke on the delivery guy. Needless to say, I don’t think that particular delivery guy will take an offer from a juggalo again. No harsh feelings yo!!!! If inquiring minds are curious, I’m sure you can find answers in pics found on the internet, but something’s are just better left unsaid.

The motel was a buzz the whole night. Fire alarms raging all night long. Prank phone calls between rooms. A nice little mote developing around the whole building. I think I passed out around 5am. It was one hell of a juggalo day!!!!

The next morning everyone began heading home. On our little journey home was muddled by me being sick, Asset being in pain, and a seriously long drive home. We did get a little giggle out of pulling over for lunch at a Waffle House. Out of the dozens we saw in route to and from the show, we just happened to stop at #420. LOL. I can’t make shit like this up! It was hilarious.

It will take a lot to top this experience. One of the best ICP trips I have ever had the privilege of being a part of. It will go down in history and I cannot wait to see the DVD. It is the first time I can honestly say, if I’m not see in the video, I will be super surprised. Keep an eye out for me at shows…just look for the Checkers!!!! Much clown love and a big WHOOP WHOOP!!!!! I love ya fam!!!!

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