Live Shots: Air Guitar Championships, Fillmore, 06/05/2010

Pub date June 10, 2010
WriterBen Hopfer

I’ve been to plenty of concerts in my life, and I’ve seen some pretty wild shows in various states of consciousness. That being said, nothing could have prepared me for this year’s Air Guitar Regional Championships at the Fillmore.

For those who don’t know, the Air Guitar championships are where bunch of costumed Air virtuosos compete for this title of the Best Air Guitarist and a chance to compete in the National finals in New York, and a chance to represent the good ol’ US of A in the world championship in Finland. With official rules and judging criteria, serious air performers have to do more than just wave their arms around to their favorite guitar based rock.

Serious competitors require some (if not all) the following: A guitar driven song that will resonate with the crowd/judges, a name that exudes rock, a ridiculous outfit, a collection of props, costumed assistants, dance moves, and the ability to rock the crowd. That’s not to say having all of the above will lead to success, as this years judges were especially tough (and tougher the more drinks they had). A high concept presentation may make the crowd excited, but a bring a weak performance and be ready to dodge a beer bottles.

This year’s crop of competitors ranged from last years regional champion simply named “Awesome” to more surreal characters such as Singar the Goat Demon (with goat legs and horns), Crusher (a mashup of everything KISS), Captain Nowhere (a 70’s glam rock throwback complete with cape), and Snake Riffskin (complete with eyepatch and arrow in his leg) among others.

While the performances varied from rocktackular to downright painful, the overall showcase was a pretty wild experience complete with an abundance of surprises. Stage dives were performed (both intentional and not), drinks were thrown with abandon, clothes were torn off, bouncy balls rained down from the sky, and the crowd yelled louder than most “real” concerts. And after the dust settled we were given a new regional champion in Cold Steel Renegade.

That’s what I think makes this event so much fun. We’ve all been to the concert where the band doesn’t seem like they want to be there and perform accordingly. The Air Guitar Championships are the complete opposite, All the performers WANT to be on that stage. They WANT to rock you (if only for their 60 seconds). However the best part of the night was the close out song, in which all the performers and anyone who wanted to jump on stage got to perform together in an explosion of air guitar greatness. Try doing that at the next concert you attend.