Last Friday, March 25th I had the pleasure of witnessing one of the most unique, thrilling and entertaining spectacles ever put on. In my life, I’ve attended plenty of rockabilly/punk concerts, more than my fair share of professional wrestling events and even a burlesque show or two. I can convincingly say this is the first time I’ve attended all three at the same time.
Did I mention I reffed the first three matches? Thanks to Wallstreet Ziv and the head booker Derek for giving me my big break in the pro wrestling world.
Cabin Fever, held at Montreal’s Theatre Plaza, is the brainchild of Wallstreet Ziv, proprietor of Quebec’s rapidly growing ShazamFest summer carnival. Although the burlesque/rasslin’/rockabilly combo may seem like a lot to process at first, it proved to be a marriage made in the hippest and coolest neighbourhood in Heaven. The show attracted a crowd of over 200 people, far more than I typically see at independent wrestling shows. Everyone in the place was hyped and the wrestlers, musicians and dancers put on a five-hour extravaganza I won’t soon forget. Let’s break down the show act by act:
Theatre Plaza: The venue could not have been more perfect. The Theatre Plaza boasts a great balcony, plenty of floor space and an absolutely stunning vintage decor. While most indie wrestling shows end up in the traditional Legion Hall or high school gymnasium, promoters opted for a proper show bar. In operation since 1922, the Plaza comes complete with chandeliers and carved wooden mouldings.
DURT Loader: Opening up the show was DURT Loader, a really heavy sounding surf/rockabilly band that’s rapidly gaining popularity on the Montreal scene. A great fit for Montreal’s sophisticated urbanite looking for a grungy good time.
Eastern Township Wrestling Association: These guys put on one H-E-Double-Hell of a show. The ETWA has been in business for over 20 years, and it’s easy to see why. All of the talent punched, kicked, brawled and bled – to the uproarious delight of the crowd. The promoters were kind enough to let me referee the opener (D-Fresh vs. JOBS), plus matches between Joe Eclypse vs. Jaba King and T-Pain vs. Aaron Fire. The battle royale that closed the show was a true barn burner and featured an orgy of blood. The wrestlers engaged in a wild brawl surrounded by a bevy of costumed burlesque dancers. If that wasn’t enough, DURT Loader offered up a breakneck soundtrack and rocked Surfin’ Bird until the matches climactic finale. I felt almost like I was witnessing the final fight scene in a Robert Rodriguez flick. If you like your wrestling a little more rasslin’ and a little less sports entertainment, ETWA is for you.
Bloodshot Bill: I’ve been waiting years to see this guy and he certainly lived up to the hype. Bill, a one-man band (in the rockabilly tradition of Link Wray and Hasil Adkins) yelped, hiccupped and growled his way through an impressive set of original tunes and familiar honky-tonk standards. Bill hosts a fair number of MP3s on his site, but see him live for full effect. The outfits and hair-flipping antics alone are worth the cover charge.
Capital Tease Burlesque and Rockalily Burlesque: As much fun as the rock ‘n’ wrestling was, the icing on the cake was definitely the amazing talents of the Capital Tease and Rockalily crews. Because one group wasn’t enough, Wallstreet Ziv brought in girls from two Ottawa area troupes. After a night punctuated with vaudeville-era outfits, fire-breathing and hula hopping I really couldn’t have asked for anything more.
ShazamFest: Anyone within driving or carpooling distance of Quebec’s Eastern Township’s should do themselves the favour of checking out this year’s ShazamFest. Held between July 29th-31st, the festival features dancers, extreme sports, skateboarders, pro wrestling, dancers, workshops on circus arts, crafts and a fair sized dose of rock and/or roll. Keep tabs on their website for future events and festival details.
Dufresne Photo: All photos in this post courtesy of Claude Dufresne. Claude’s website boasts an impressive collection of pics from a wide array of live shows and events.