Two loyal and powerful concert fans will take over Ventura during the first week in October.
Insane Clown Posse (ICP) followers, the Juggalos, will have a chance to see the legendary horrorcore duo perform live as part of the “The Great Milenko” 20 Year Tour. The tour was named to celebrate The Great Milenko album, originally released in 1997 and now available as a remastered 20th anniversary edition.
The duo, consisting of Violent J (Joseph Bruce) and Shaggy 2 Dope (Joseph Utsler), was formed in the late 1980s in Detroit. The group is best known for the original release of its fourth studio album, The Great Milenko and the 1999 follow-up The Amazing Jeckel Brothers.
Fourteen studio albums and 44 singles under their independent label, Psychopathic Records, have brought the group tremendous success. To date, ICP remains one of the most controversial and notorious groups in hip-hop. With many of their lyrics discussing violence and poverty, the devoted Juggalos have recently been targeted by the FBI for whether or not they should be considered a criminal gang and a threat to society.
But ICP members defend their fans, music and the performance art they have worked so hard to express.
“It’s just something about the way the music instantly gets under your skin, and you feel that tingle of the Dark Carnival [heaven and hell] magic send a shiver up your spine, and before you know it, you are a Juggalo,” the group wrote on its website. “It’s pure, positive energy and there’s nothing else like it in the world.”
The Juggalos made headlines recently when they protested the gang label with a Sept. 16 march on Washington. Around 1,500 ICP fans staged an all-day rally and concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial. They weren’t alone. The March of the Juggalos took place on the same day as the Mother of All Rallies, a presentation in support of President Donald Trump that organizers expected to draw thousands to the National Mall. Instead, a few hundred Trump supporters and a handful of anti-Trump protesters showed up. Vocal though they may have been, they were all vastly outnumbered by the pro-Clown contingent.
Ventura will also see a flock of head bangers that week, as the highly anticipated Frost and Fire heavy metal music festival is held for the third year.
“It takes a lot of work to put together this event; it was never a plan to make this an annual thing,” said Jarvis Leatherby, Night Demon member and Frost and Fire founder. “People said it is the best weekend of their entire lives. It’s a congregation of friends and a heavy metal reunion.”
Many of the bands playing this year are legendary from the 1970s and 1980s: Ventura band Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road, Raven, Ashbury, Jaguar, Fist, Mythra, Bitch, and Cauldron — just to name a few. A pre-show on Oct. 5 will also feature Night Demon, Cage, Ruthless, Pounder, Glare and Tyrant.
“It’s nice to bring bands over here for the first time in their careers,” Leatherby said. “Every year we’ve had this festival, it’s been a fun-loving crowd; we have never had any issues. The festival has a good name for itself.”
On average, Leatherby said about 1,000 head bangers attend the celebration of aggression and power chords, with about 5 percent of the attendees being from Ventura, while others are from out of state and most are from out of the country.
“There will be a ton of vendors and a lot of merchandise from the bands, the fans love that stuff,” he said. “We will also have some guest DJs. It’s just a good, fun party atmosphere.”
Leatherby is the lead vocalist and bass player for Night Demon, which also includes of Dusty Squires (drums) and Armand John Anthony (guitar). The band recently won a Metal Hammer Award from the German branch of Metal Hammer magazine.
At the Frost and Fire pre-show, Leatherby said, the band’s performance will be raw and powerful.
“Our live show is something to see,” he said. “We are an old-school, New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and we also consider ourselves a street band with a punk-rock edge that a lot of fans can relate to.”
Bitch is also ready to rock its first Frost and Fire performance. Formed in Los Angeles in the 1980s, the band is fronted by female vocalist Betsy “Bitch” Weiss, with Angelo Espino (bass), Alex O’Neill (guitar) and Scandal West (drums).
“Festivals are always the most gratifying and the most well-attended, especially the metal scene,” Weiss said. “We look forward to playing to all of the metal heads.”
Insane Clown Posse performs on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 8 p.m. at Ventura Theater, 26 S. Chestnut St., Ventura, 653-0721 or www.venturatheater.net. The Frost and Fire III pre-show is on Thursday, Oct. 5, at 6 p.m. at Ventura Theater. Main shows run Oct. 6-8 at Bombay Bar and Grill, 143 S. California St., Ventura. For tickets and more information, visit www.frostandfirefest.com.