REVIEW: Mexican Wrestling @ Stephenson Boiler Shop, Newcastle (7.5.15) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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On entry to a warm and gloriously packed-out Boiler Shop, it was almost impossible to avoid the strong diversity of aromas and activities happening within. In true iVAMOS! style, the place was a hub of vivid party spirit before even a hint of any spandex-clad wrestlers could be seen.

To say that there was a variety of food stalls in the industrial venue would be an understatement, as the crowds had their fill of just about everything you could possibly want at any event, let alone one as eccentric as this: Breaking Bad themed Heisenberg Wings, a pop-up creperie, alcoholic ice lollies, and even a sneaky showcase from Newcastle’s very own Fat Hippo. Just as I was contemplating which food(s) to throw the contents of my thinly-lined purse at, The Final Countdown began to echo around the room, signalling the start of what the chilled out attendees were so eagerly anticipating: the wrestling itself.

“The evening was an impeccable celebration of culture, cuisine, and crowd participation”

After an attempt to take in the vibrant atmosphere of a venue that could only be described as partway between a rustic garden party and an episode of Channel 4’s period drama The Mill, I quickly found myself in a slightly surreal situation. Baked camembert in one hand (courtesy of the magnificent Elodie Camembert), notebook in the other, I juggled my attention between the glittering violence occurring in the ring before me, and the amazingly dressed hostess encouraging bouts of theatrical chanting around the room. Admittedly, I know little about wrestling as a sport – let alone the Mexican variety – and I can’t really say that my brief, fast-paced brush with the world of Lucha Libre has educated me much in the way of actual rules. Nevertheless, I was soon shouting myself hoarse for a guy in a feather boa who would probably thank me for referring to him as “the Joey Essex of Wrestling,” as we watched him throw both himself and his sparkly opponent around the ring.

A brief interlude to the light-hearted brutality featured a perfect soundtrack from the energetic Voodoo Love Orchestra, stimulating some pretty impressive dancing from a few classically trained couples, who easily put my absent-minded hip-waggling to shame. Following that performance, the DJ indulged the crowd with none other than Lou Bega’s school disco hit Mambo No. 5, which naturally brought the entire contents of the room onto the dancefloor in a wonderfully diverse encapsulation of the festival’s celebratory spirit.

At last came the time for an appearance from the illustrious guest star Cassandro, former UWA World Lightweight Champion and proud owner of the most flamboyant cape I’ve seen in quite some time. In a fabulous brawl not too dissimilar from a pantomime act, the 45-year-old wrestling legend quickly trounced his opponents, much to the delight of the jubilant crowd.

The evening was an impeccable celebration of culture, cuisine, and crowd participation; with a single, sun-filled room decked out in food carts and fairy lights, Newcastle readily took on the iVAMOS! summer party atmosphere and made it their own.

See more of Katherine Hanratty’s amazing shots of the event in the gallery below:

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