Me So Oily

Is women's wresteling taking over Cleveland'ems rock clubs

Revolution 3415 Brookpark Road,Parma Monday nights are typically hard sells for rock clubs--but not here
Monday nights are typically hard sells for rock clubs -- but not for the Revolution (3415 Brookpark Road, Parma), which has been booking local rock acts since opening late last year. Every Monday, the venue's small parking lot is full, and a boisterous crowd is whistling and cheering, as if the Tribe took the World Series. The reason? Women's oil wrestling. It's not rock and roll, but it's just as popular and appeals to the same rednecked, hard-drinking crowd that will pack the club to see Bonfire, the AC/DC tribute band that makes regular appearances at the Revolution. Staffed by women from Sinsations, a local bachelor party service, Monday night oil wrestling begins with the sale of raffle tickets and body shots (drinks you ingest by slurping beakers stuffed in the female wrestlers' underwear or bathing suits, as the case may be). Raffle ticket winners get to become referees, oilers (who have the enviable task of squeezing oil onto the participants), or actual wrestlers (you gotta strip to your skivvies for this job). The lucky winners get into the ring (er, inflatable tub greased with body oil) to do hand-to-hand combat with bikini- and thong-clad babes. If you're lucky, as we were on a recent Monday night, one of the slippery women will lose her top and shake her bare breasts for you.

Peabody's DownUnder (1059 Old River Road in the Flats), another club known more for rock than raunch, held its own night of women's oil wrestling last month, and the club was filled with over 400 scruffy-looking guys who took to chanting "tits, tits, tits" when one of the wrestler's tops came undone (a no-no for the shows, which aren't supposed to feature any nudity). The women's oil wrestling event at Peabody's was part of a national tour put on by a group out of Louisiana. The women, most of whom donned Xena-like costumes, danced for tips before heading to the stage to wrestle. The highest bidder in a mock auction had the opportunity to get onstage and smear their toned torsos with oil before the women jumped into the giant inflatable tub set up onstage.

"We had such a great turnout," says Peabody's talent buyer Dan Cull of the event. "I went out to Parma, and they just rolled around. At this one, there were flying dropkicks and piledrivers. The women flew off the top ropes, going crazy. I thought they were going to hurt each other. It was literally WWF-style."

It was the first time Peabody's had ever hosted a women's wrestling event, but the club has another one scheduled for June 25. When you're a floundering rock club, you gotta do what you can to bring in the crowds.

Released three years ago on San Francisco's Om Records, Deep Concentration, a compilation of turntablist tracks by artists such as the X-Men, Peanut Butter Wolf, and Cut Chemist, was originally intended to be part of Om's developing multimedia department. But once the owners of Om realized that the enhanced CD format wasn't the wave of the future (it's since been overtaken by technologically superior DVDs), they shifted their focus and have become a proponent of underground hip-hop and DJ culture. In addition to boasting a roster that includes Ming & FS, the People Under the Stairs, and El Stew, Om has released two more Deep Concentration compilations, the latest of which has spawned a tour that includes a May 25 stop at Peabody's.

"Om has had an interesting history," admits Om label manager Chris Smith. "We've always been into underground music, hip-hop, electronic music, and shit like that, and that's been our focus. We were also trying to do multimedia around that, and we couldn't afford to do that after a year and a half. We had like 15 people on staff full-time, then we dropped that part of it and only needed eight people full-time. It's kinda weird because, at the point when we were putting out the fewest releases, we had the largest staff. Now our staff is half the size, and we're putting out twice as many records. We wanted to take the multimedia part and make it an online thing, but we couldn't afford to keep it going. Our vision was an underground, interactive online thing that would have cost a lot to develop and keep going. Now, we're going to do that, because the market is ready for it."

Deep Concentration 3 features tracks by Ming & FS, People Under the Stairs, T-Rock & Faust, and Cash Money, and the tour includes a rotating cast of DJs -- DJ Craze, DJ Infamous, and Triple Threat (a group composed of DJs Apollo, Vin-Roc, and Short Kut) are slated to appear on the Cleveland stop of the tour, along with a roster of regional talent. Doors open at 11 p.m., and tickets are $20. For more information, call Peabody's at 216-241-0792.

Electronic music festivals are a dime a dozen these days, and each one presents itself as the biggest and best. But the Detroit Electronic Music Festival, scheduled for May 27-29, appears that it will truly live up to that billing. Curated by Detroit DJ Carl Craig, who runs his own Planet E label, the event features a diverse cast of talent from both the dance and hip-hop scenes, including the Roots, Mos Def, Richie Hawtin, Derrick May, Kevin Saunderson, Juan Atkins, Laurent Garnier (with a band), Isotope 217, A Guy Called Gerald, DJ Spooky, Jonah Sharp, and Stacey Pullen. Events will take place from noon to midnight each day in Hart Plaza, downtown Detroit's waterfront park. For more information, consult the festival's website at

About The Author

Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected]
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