Mike McCarthy brings the Memphis heat like an old school wrestling promoter. "Have you heard all the stuff the Coliseum Crushers have been saying about Memphis music history?" he asks, referring to a couple of smack-talking ruffians, sure to get what's coming to them when they square off against a pair of Coliseum-loving Memphis legends this weekend. "The Coliseum Crushers are from parts unknown," McCarthy says, building momentum like a freight train. "They wear masks, have a complete lack of understanding about mid-century modern architecture. They're afraid to show their faces, and I really hope that Jerry Lawler and Bill Dundee shut them up in the ring." It's the perfect pitch for the Roundhouse Revival, a benefit concert and wrestling exhibition organized to raise awareness about ongoing efforts to save and repurpose Memphis' Mid-South Coliseum, the arena where Jerry "the King" Lawler famously dropped Hollywood comedian Andy Kaufman on his head.
"Parking's free," says McCarthy, the Memphis-based artist, musician, and filmmaker. "The music's free, and so is the wrestling. We'll sell you a beer, and there will be food trucks, but we want people to come out and see what's possible."
Visitors to the Roundhouse Revival can compete in 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, and there will be two wrestling rings erected in the parking lot. One for music, and one for actual wrestling. "As far as the music goes, we were trying to do a mix of country, gospel, pop and blues," McCarthy says. "So the overall effect is rock-and-roll and hip-hop. Because if you squeezed all that other stuff out of a tube, that's what you'd get." The one thing visitors won't get this go-round is a chance to see music inside the Coliseum.
"We made due diligence and followed the correct protocols to get into the building, but that can't happen this time," McCarthy says. "So be prepared for Roundhouse Revival 2, which will be based around limited access to the building," he adds hopefully.