Dante's was packed (stuffed, crammed?) last night for the US Air Guitar Championships regional competition. It was elbow to elbow at the bar and shoulder to shoulder in front of the stage as air-master-cum-documentary-superstar Bjorn Turoq took the mic. He is a dimpled and charming air-guitar satyr who made a name for himself via a heated rivalry with World Champion Air Guitar hero C. Diddy. Their epic air battles were featured in the documentary Air Guitar Nation which, Bjorn told us proudly, was the top rented documentary from Netflix in the Portland-Metro region.
Here's the skinny on Air Guitar competitions: Each competitor rocks two rounds, shredding their invisible ax for 60 seconds each round. The first round performance is to a snippet of raw rock goodness chosen by the performer. The second round performance is to a suprise song, chosen by the air guitar gods. The scoring, which was an uneven ordeal from last nights introspective, local press (anyone ever heard of the Morning Minute?), is based on the Olympic Figure Skating system. Why not?
Judges are looking for:
Technique: Do they belive you are holding an invisible guitar. No, like, reaaaally believe, man.
Style: Is your package stuffed enough?
Air-ness: No fucking clue about what this is actually. But apparently, you know it when you see it.
The competitors took the stage and I'd say a quarter of the field was very lame. Especially the women. And I totally don't get why women aren't ruling this competition. Anyone ever heard of Heart? Hellooooo. "Magic Man?" Anyone?
However, there were some real wiene... er, winners, on the stage last night. If you want to call them that. One of my favorites was Ricky Stinkfinger. See below:
He's down! Oh wait, he's up again!
And yes, that is the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers theme song
I took off after the first round. But Sarah, the intrepid intern, stayed 'till the juicy, sweaty, beer soaked climax. Read about it, in her own words, after the jump.
Sarah's account of the brutal events that happened later:
I was hunched next to the speakers backstage, trying to take notes amid peroxide Woo Girls and large shirtless men, when the swaggering host told me to stop being such a square and get onstage for the group Freebird jam after the awards ceremony. "It'll change your life," he promised. Never had I placed so much of the responsibility for my dignity in the hands of a man wearing three red sweatbands, but the crowd swept up the stage stairs as the first "Freebird" chords started and I ran up with them.
It was a sweaty air-guitaring mosh pit on stage. I was smushed right in the center of the shirtless and leather-bound crowd. Back sweat glistened under the strobe lights. A man's long-greasy hair slapped me across the face as he head banged and I found myself air-shredding back-to-back with a stranger in a black sleeveless shirt. A PBR thrown over our heads provided a refreshingly cool splash of reeking beer.
As Freebird wound down and we all stepped offstage, I found myself right next to star Ricky Stinkfinger and received an ecstatic hug juicy with sweat. "Can I talk to you for The Mercury?" I asked, a little timidly.
"The Mercury!" Stinkfinger shouted back, "I wanna talk to you! What the hell happened to Perry Bible Fellowship?!" Who knew the badass Air Guitar Champion is also a nerdy webcomics fan?
Ricky Stinkfinger Loves Perry Bible Fellowship
I asked Ricky how he chose his outfit. "It's an evolution, every year I try and get more ridiculous," he said, lifting up his jersey to show off his tiger-print thong. "How does it feel to wear a tiger-print G-string? Does it chafe?" I asked. "It feels sexy," he replied, swinging his arm around a nearby lady, "I am a sex machine."