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Make Air Not War – The U.S. Air Guitar Regionals/SF Golden Gate @ The Independent, 6/26/09

June 27, 2009

As I get deeper and deeper into making HardRockChick a legitimate website, building up my own credibility as a writer that bestows music insights upon you, I feel a little weird about still going to see Air Guitar.

BUT- the whole thing makes me laugh. And laughter is the best medicine, right?

The show begins with the Star Wars theme introducing the ‘Master of Air-emonies’, Hot Lixx Hulahan, who is the current reigning world champion. As in he took Finland. You’ve seen the documentary, right? He goes over the rules and the judging criteria: technical prowess, stage presence, and ‘airness’. Then he recruits a girl to play air drums from the crowd (wearing a homemade shirt that says Vodka on it), as well as a guy to play air bass, and is joined by Bjorn Turoque to play as an air band to warm the crowd up.

The three judges for the evening are Bjorn Turoque, Aesop, drummer for Ludicra, and Marc Hawthorne, a judge from last year who apparently recently ‘departed The Onion’. Sad times.

On with the show. You gotta give major props to anyone who goes up there and does this….that said, some of them are really, really bad. Luckily the judges were drinking Boones, sponsor for the evening, from the bottle….as a lot of the funnies came from them. Aesop turned out to be like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, making some of the most inappropriate yet hilarious remarks of the evening. For instance, one of the competitors, who I remember from last year, had a stroke recently, but still wanted to compete. However, he had some physical limitations with the performance. So Aesop gives him a low score, saying “I don’t want to send some stroked out guy to Finland”, or something to that effect.

There were quite a few forgettable performances…but ones I do recall are: Dirty Airy’s Sabotage performance, the emo kid in purple tights that showed a bit much of his bits, the guy in the Donnie Darko shirt with black fingernails, Awesome- last year’s winner, the raver kid, the guy who made pedals and amps out of cardboard, and the guy who wore underwear as a bra with his head through the crotch. There were more, I just had to…drink.

Luckily someone compiled a montage:

About a third of the way into the first round, when the crowd was angry with some of the scores from the judges, Hot Lixx told us that we were free to throw things at the judges. For the rest of the evening, beers and things were being thrown up there, and Bjorn was hit squarely in the face at least twice. Marc retaliated at one point by ‘accidentally’ dropping a whole bottle of Boones, which luckily didn’t hit anyone.

After a short intermission, the top 5 scorers are announced: Awesome, the Donnie Darko guy, the Emo Destroyer, the underwear bra guy, and Dirty Airy. It was time to reveal the song that they would all have to air guitar to. At first, they played ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’, and we were all a little confused. And then it happened: Beat It.

It was the first time I’d heard an MJ song in public after his death, and I got a little emo. It’s crazy.

First up was the Donnie Darko guy, who busted out some MJ dance moves, and finished with lifting his shirt to reveal RIP MJ scrawled on his chest. I don’t know how he knew to do that, but it was there and that’s all that mattered. The crowd ate it up. Another memorable performance from the top 5 was Dirty Airy, who performed only wearing a sock on his manparts. I don’t know how it stayed there, because he sure moved around a lot. Funny to see everyone whip out their cameraphones for that part. The final performance was from Awesome, who came out wearing an MJ shirt that looked like he had been in possession of since he was twelve, from the Victory tour. Another amazing foresight. He just killed it- this guy was made for Air Guitar- which is kinda sad and kinda cool at the same time.

Awesome took home the prize- he’ll be going to DC to represent us in the US Championship in August.

The night ended with everyone onstage performing air Freebird. No, I didn’t get up there, but I busted out a little HRC air guitar for anyone who was watching.

Here’s me with Awesome last year, when he was still known as Shred Begley, Jr.


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