I first met the Boxx about a year ago in the basement of a Unitarian church in my Midwestern hometown of Oak Park, Illinois. I had booked a show there for him, and I’d talked to him online a few times prior to our meeting. He and his friends rolled up in a crowded van about two hours late, and Juice ran into the bathroom as soon as he stumbled out of it to change into his stage clothes—a blue jumpsuit, a pair of Phat Farm boxers, and a cock-ring he’d later take off and throw into the audience.
The ’Bash, as people call the Pepsi Summerbash, is basically Chicago’s answer to 106 & Park, where top 40 rappers and singers play 15-minute sets and DJs perform ridiculous skits. It was a three-day event, but since we could only afford tickets to one night, we had to miss R. Kelly, D12, and Twista in favor of an incredibly awesome lineup featuring Ma$e, J-Kwon, Houston, Jojo, and the Ying Yang Twins. I picked Juice up at the train station around 5:30 and we gunned it straight to Taco Bell, where a group of short-skirted 14-year old girls asked us if we were into doing horse.
The concert itself was amazing—free, unlimited carnival rides out front, and a gorgeous crowd of about 15,000 packed into the track. As soon as we walked in we heard “I Like That” start playing, so we took off running towards the stage and didn’t stop until we were as close up as possible. As a rule, the seas would part when people saw Juiceboxx’s intimidating unicorn shirt, and by the end of our push we were standing next to a middle-aged Italian woman, a twenty something shirtless dude with a red G-Unit bandana, and a gaggle of middle school girls whose older brother stood nearby uncomfortably protecting them from the Boxx’s passion.
Sadly, what should have been the dance party of the century erupted into something of a riot during Jojo’s set, and even “Leave (Get Out!)” was obscured by the hurricane of 20oz. bottles taking place above our heads. Covered in Coke and other sticky drinks, the crowd was more subdued than a Modest Mouse audience for the rest of the night, and not even the Ying Yang Twins could get anyone but me and Juice to twerk their shit. People even got mad at us for leaning back during Ma$e’s remix of the Terror Squad song, and the Italian lady’s husband told us to quit brushing up against his jeans. “Hey nerd, we’re just dancing,” Juiceboxx yelled back, turning towards the girls on the right and pulling them an “Am I right, ladies?” through the gap in his teeth. He gave them some Year of the Juice demo CDs and smiled at their brother. Afterwards, we went home and drank beer and the next day we shot a music video called Thunder Jam #1.