Cleveland’s back and better than ever!

Venue: The Winchester Music Tavern
Date: May 11, 2018
Host: Jerrod “Dick Diesel” Dewey

For the first time since 2009, air guitar is finally back in the “Rock and Roll Capital of the World,” and it’s like they never missed a single lick.

Fantastically hosted and organized by the always fun and flamboyant Dick Diesel (Jerrod Dewey), both the crowd and 12 competitors knew by the end of the night that air guitar was here to stay in The Land. 

Round One

First up was USAG favorite Rockstache (Charles Williamson) who traveled from Washington, DC to compete in the action. We all know how that going first often means low scores, and for Rockstache…that’s what he got.

Someone’s gunning for this year’s Road Warrior award—USAG veteran Harvey Wahlbanger (Ryan Wahl). He killed it as usual with flair and a nice dose of vanity, quickly standing out from the pack.

A choice that usually ends in edit disaster, Stonehenge (Lloyd Weema) played a NINE song mashup. But somehow…he pulled it off. The crowd and judges loved his enthusiasm and audience integration, putting him into first place.

Next came USAG veteran, and Cleveland’s own AirLeigh Legal (Leigh Melendez, who you can learn more about here).After waiting nearly a decade to shred again in her hometown, she clearly came ready to win. There was instantly no doubt that she oozed with airness playing right-handed, left-handed, and even with her teeth, never missing a note. This earned her perfect 6.0s from all the judges. 

What’s more fun than a wild card? A wild card that absolutely SLAYS! Newcomer Kreees (Kristal Mills) stumbled onto the show last minute and decided to give it a shot. Using a leftover edit of Master of Puppets, she stepped onto the stage looking like a school teacher—and walking off a rock star! 

 Emanuel Wallace, Cleveland Scene

Emanuel Wallace, Cleveland Scene

She worked the stage, jumped off amps, and fully embraced her freshly discovered airness. Kreees leaped to the top of the standing, tying for first place and taking us into the second round.

The halftime show featured Derek Not-So-Smalls (Dave Weissman), a judge for the evening, and his 8-year-old son Derek So-So-Smalls. There’s nothing like seeing the next generation of air guitar take real command of a stage. This kid definitely has a future in air guitar. Watch out Cleveland 2028!

Round Two

Thanks to several ties, seven competitors made it to Round Two.

Though they all killed it, standout moments included Harvey Wahlbanger in a LeBron James jersey, and his trademark baby powder toss. Wahlbanger’s technical skills and airness were as strong as ever.

Toy Boy Roy Piccolo may have had the move of the night, standing on a rotating barstool and spinning a 360 and still playing flawlessly. It was dubbed the “Circle Jerk” by judge Virginia Nelson.

Stonehenge and Kreees has a tie to settle, so they drew cards and Kreees drew the low. 

 Emanuel Wallace, Cleveland Scene

Emanuel Wallace, Cleveland Scene

Kreees brought the same technical merit and stage presence, yet somehow even more Airness, smarly using Wahlbanger’s leftover baby powder mess to slide, skate, and hump her way across the floor. She earned the night’s second perfect score.

Stonehenge had a tough act to follow, but he rocked it with style. Still, it wasn’t quite enough to overtake Kreees.

AirLeigh Legal, being the veteran that she is, knew she had to bring it to take back her lead. And did it she did. With perfect moves fully taking advantage of the insturment’s invisibility, she played behind the back and between the legs, ultimately ending in the “Knee Slide to End All Knee Slides”. 

With that, it was clear she had clinched it. AirLeigh Legal took the Cleveland Air Guitar Championship with a near perfect score. Her ticket to the U.S. Air Guitar National Championshipsin Brooklyn, NY has been punched where she’ll take on the rest of our worthy competitors. 

 Emanuel Wallace, Cleveland Scene

Emanuel Wallace, Cleveland Scene

Final Ranking:
1.  AirLeigh Legal (35.9)
2.  Kreees (35.7)
3.  Stonehenge (35.5)
4.  Toy Boy Roy Piccolo (35.3)
5.  Airphrodite(34.9)
6.  Harvey Wahlbanger (34.8)
7.  Raw Milk (34.5)
8.  Thrashcan Willie(17.2)
9.  Metal King (17)
10.  Lil Flame (16.9)
11.  Rockstache (16.7)
12.  The Delliminator (16.1)

Judges:
Dave “Derek Not-So-Smalls” Weissman
Brian “Duke Thrashington” Shapiro
Shawn Perry
Virginia Nelson

Kriston Rucker