The Krakatoa volcanic eruption in 1883 was so loud it ruptured the eardrums of people within a 40 mile radius, traveled around the world four times, and was clearly heard 3,000 miles away.
It was the loudest sound in known history. The second loudest sound was in February 2017, and was caused by the simultaneous dropping of tea cups and crumpets on the floor from British Juggalos when Insane Clown Posse announced their first UK tour in 14 years. Even the Queen was blown away; it took James Bond weeks to retrieve her wig from the exotic mountain it landed on! Time slowly ticked by while the UK braced itself for the Dark Carnival’s triumphant return to our shores. News regarding the tour came in drips. Mushroomhead were announced as the support act eventually, but it wasn’t until a few weeks before the tour began that British Juggalos learned that none other than Big Hoodoo, Lyte, and Ouija Macc would be joining the Wicked Clowns for the ride. Once the ‘Spray the UK’ tour name and poster were revealed, with Death Blooms revealed as the final support act, the entire British empire was in a frenzy of hype. The circus was in town; ICP had landed in the country and the tour was set to begin… then suddenly the whole thing was cancelled before a single drop of Faygo had touched British soil.
Speculation was rampant about why but no matter how you cut it, O2 (the company hosting the tour thru its venues around the UK) played the “Not on our watch!” card and suddenly the entire tour was in jeopardy. Anyone of a sound state of mind would have immediately apologized to their fans, retreated back home, and began planning the tour all over again for a later date – but since when have Psychopathic Records ever walked the path of least resistance? Within hours, the tour was back on at new venues around the country; it was unbelievable that they were able to pull it off, proving that even a devil-worshipping mega conglomerate like O2 couldn’t keep the Dark Carnival at bay! That’s not to say that things didn’t go off without a hitch, however. The first show of the tour was originally set to kick off in Leeds on 13th November but was relocated to Sheffield which caused an outcry from people who had traveled from afar or even overseas having to rearrange hotels and find the money to get from Leeds to Sheffield. Then when they eventually arrived at the new venue, the tour buses were there but important equipment, merchandise, and stage sets were still held up at the airport which unfortunately lead to the show being cancelled last minute. Things finally got underway on the 14th of November, when Newcastle became the true launchpad for the ‘Spray the UK’ tour and the British Isles were shaken to the core by the elation of Juggalos all over the country.
I was able to make it out to 3 of the shows; Bristol on the 16th, Birmingham on the 18th, and London on the 19th. All 3 venues were very different; SWX in Bristol has a theatrical layout, with raised areas around the sides of a large floor space suitable for 1,000 plus along with a mezzanine (balcony) that wrapped around, facing a large stage that was easily viewed from wherever you were located in the venue… The Asylum in Birmingham was smaller, filled to its maximum 650 capacity with a stage that wasn’t particularly high which prevented good views from the back of the venue and a low ceiling which impeded Faygo from traveling further than a few meters from the stage. The lighting wasn’t great either, which in combination with the hyperactive smoke machines meant that you were either watching silhouettes or murky shapes on stage. There was also a significant lack of ventilation, so the heat was uncomfortable and the stench of unwashed Juggalos was repugnant… The historic Electric Ballroom in London was a happy medium between these two venues; a two-tier, 1,100 capacity location that is known for being the home of PROGRESS wrestling. It shared the simple floor space layout of The Asylum, and not only had a balcony area which was open (the one at SWX was closed for the show) but it also had a chill-out area that had sound dampening and air conditioning. Bristol had amazing sound for all of the acts, the Asylum was horrifically overpowered by bass, and on the balcony of the Electric Ballroom there was an odd echo from small satellite speakers that seemed to be a half second behind the speakers on the main stage.
Let’s talk about the acts. First of all, I have got to give it up to Kevin Gill for hosting the entire show. The dude was super focused, was able to read and react to the energy of the crowd, and was in general a certified professional at all times. We bumped into one another on a couple of occasions during the tour, and he was completely approachable and accommodating. Kudos to KG! The following lineup alternated in the schedule a few times from venue to venue, so I will just go thru them all one by one;
OUIJA MACC – Everyone who met Ouija Macc with the VIP package said that he is one of the nicest, warmest people you could ever hope to meet. No one had a single bad thing to say about him, but when it came to his performance there were a lot of complaints after every show about his set seeming to be mimed. Having spoken to the sound engineers at two of the venues myself to see if this was indeed the case, I can put those speculations to rest; his voice is just that good that you won’t notice it straying from the backing track. He delivered an enthusiasm that compensated for a marginal lack of stage presence, and all in all he shows a lot of promise for things to come. He will always have a home here in the UK, the Juggalos embracing him with open arms.
DEATH BLOOMS – I am ashamed to say that I paid little attention to this band. In Bristol I was chopping it up and trading selfies with Sugar Slam during their entire set, I was running around Birmingham trying to find an ATM while they performed in Birmingham, and in London I was swamped with the Family showing love to MC Cryptid (most of whom I hadn’t seen since I opened for Zug Izland back in September last year). What I did get to hear and see of Death Blooms was good; they played well and their singer was great. If you’re into metal, then definitely check them out if you get the chance.
BIG HOODOO – It was great to see what I consider to be the last of the true “gimmick” artists of the Psychopathic Records roster perform, and he interacted with the crowd really well. With his less aggressive and more laid back tracks, he aptly demonstrated the spectrum of music that Psychopathic now provides and the Juggalos ate it up. At Bristol he gave us a set of several songs but was relegated to only a few minutes stage time in London just before ICP hit the stage which was a shame, but loved him all the same.
MUSHROOMHEAD – I’ve been bumping these guys for almost two decades, so when it occurred to me that I had never seen them live before I was very excited to see them. Their stage presence is second to none; if you can imagine the Mos Eisley cantina scene from ‘Star Wars: A New Hope’ but replace that band and their flute instruments with a demonic-looking metal band, barrels filled with multi-colored fluid and Jackie Laponza, then you’ll be half way towards comprehending how brilliant it all looks. I lost track of how many times on all three nights I had to explain how the water-covered drums worked to people in the crowd, and getting to see them play for almost an hour straight was every bit the experience I had hoped it to be. Definitely a highlight of the tour and well worth checking out if you are unfamiliar with them.
LYTE – I was unfamiliar with Lyte, but as soon as he hit the stage I sent the following text message to my friend who was backstage at the shows;
“30 seconds into Lyte’s set. Sold.”
The dude is like a spark of electricity, bouncing around the stage and waving his arms around while rapping at light speed. His performance was one of raw, unrelenting energy, and every single one of the audiences I was in for this tour were enthralled by him. He is definitely a talent to watch, and I have been bumping his music non-stop ever since. A true standout and star on the rise.
INSANE CLOWN POSSE – After a 14 year absence, I think it’s safe to say that ICP have been sorely missed. Their last European tour in 2003 was devastatingly fresh (I was living in Amsterdam at the time and saw their shows in Tilburg and Amsterdam), and Juggalos from across the continent waited as the years painfully crept by without a single word on if we’d ever see them again. Juggalos died and Juggalos were born during the prolonged, deafening silence, and many began to wonder if ICP would eventually become too old to tour overseas again… so imagine a thousand wigs being blown back simultaneously when Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope took the stage looking in top peak physical condition! Take it from someone that saw them on that 2003 tour, they were BETTER this time around; Violent J was looking slim and sprite, running around the stage dancing, and even taking a stage dive or two into the crowd, while Shaggy 2 Dope rocked the house with his boundless enthusiasm and stage presence. The Wicked Clowns were firing on all cylinders, and delivered an hour long set that was nothing short of spectacular. The set-list was mostly from The Great Milenko through to The Wraith: Hell’s Pit, with a couple of brief visits to The Riddlebox and The Marvelous Missing Link: Lost – almost all of the songs were high energy crowd pleasers, and the excitement from the Juggalos in the crowd was off the charts. By the time it was all over, every night Violent J would take to the mic and declare ICP’s love for the UK and reassure us that the next tour wouldn’t be another 14 years away. They schooled it each and every night, and every single person in attendance had a blast.
Before I wrap this up, let me comment right quick on how beautiful British Juggalos are. Pre-show gatherings were held before every show, and I don’t think anyone will mind me saying that more than a few of us were rolling tears of pride and joy at these things. We have continued to defiantly fly the Hatchetman flag for decades now despite being under-served by touring; this isn’t a fault of Psychopathic Records nor an indication of them having less love for us, it is just a cold, harsh reality that to be an independent artist means not being able to tour outside of your home turf as much as you’d like. Juggalos are a rare breed of homosapien, and finding one in the UK takes some Indiana Jones level of digging into the underground to unearth them; but we are there. This truly has been the Year of 17, and British Juggalos have never shined more brightly than they have during the ‘Spray the UK’ tour. It has brought us together and unified us; those who discovered the magic of the Dark Carnival after 2003 have finally had their eyes opened to the fact that they are not alone and that their Juggalo family truly is one of pure, unprecedented love. And we can’t thank Psychopathic Records, Insane Clown Posse, Lyte, Big Hoodoo, and Ouija Mack for reciprocating that love enough. That love extends of course to KG, Mushroomhead, and Death Blooms. This has literally been a tour of life-changing moments for thousands of people around Great Britain – I only wish that those who missed it could have been there.
In closing, it has been a wild time here in the UK with the ‘Spray the UK’ tour, and with the promise of more shows to come in the future I can honestly say that there has never been a more exciting time for British Juggalos. There is no sound sweeter than the collective hum of everyone’s karma batteries being charged after this tour. Thank you, Psychopathic Records – you heard the call, and you answered. The Wicked Clowns will never die!!
- Bristol – 5 out of 5
- Birmingham – 2 out of 5
- London – 4 out of 5
Toby Hagen AKA MC Cryptid is a podcaster, film maker, rapper, and internet radio host from Milton Keynes, England. He is a hardcore video, board, card, and RPG gamer, and works with both Make Believe Games and Dirty Vortex as a playtester, writer, and video editor. He also created the music video for Zug Izland’s ‘Promised Land’.