San Diego: a jolly green time was had by all

There ain’t no party like an anniversary party, and the 10thanniversary of U.S. Air Guitar in San Diego was no exception. In fact, the June 30th competition at the Merrow proved their scene is thriving harder and better than ever. 

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Capped out at 20 amazing and hungry competitors—and overflowing with a perfect balance of emotional moments and plenty of dick jokes—there were many factors that contributed to San Diego once again proving why they’ve become an USAG destination. 

The evening’s hostest with the mostest Lt. Facemelter (Jason Farnan) and 2-time San Diego champ Jolly Green Shredding Machine (Nate Briles) worked together to compile an incredible intro video for the show that showcased 10 amazing years of San Diego air guitar. 

With many long-time competitors coming out of hiding for the first time in years to compete, such as USAG legend Dry Ice (Aaron Alonso) who hasn’t performed since 2014, competitors and crowd members alike were fired up to celebrate a decade of local airness. 

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The show presented many emotional moments that made it a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Most notable was a halftime performance honoring longtime San Diego competitor Geoffrey Gamble who passed away just two weeks before the competition. The performance featured a Guns N’ Roses heavy mashup of Gamble’s favorite music. 

Though many of the competitors were longtime air guitar vets, the night kicked off with a bit of a passing of the torch. First-timer Clit Beastwood (PJ Ortiz) made his official transition from the world of competitive air sex—to competitive air guitar. Always the right choice, right? It’s never easy to go first, but Clit was clearly having a blast and his contagious energy was the perfect way to kick off an incredible night.

Longtime USAG vet FAN Airnation has been traveling to several competitions this season, and he made another appearance in San Diego to showcase his raunchy ridiculousness. However, this appearance was an extra special one for FAN.

Before performing his routine, he asked Facemelter help him and his wife (the evening’s ATC) conduct the very real gender reveal of their baby as part of the performance. In an amazing celebratory spectacle, Facemelter sprayed FAN with tons of bright blue silly string and it was officially revealed that a boy would soon be joining the air guitar clan.

Returning performer Vlad DM Wailer (Kolb Ettenger) added a bit of thrill to the joy and tears of the evening. His performance culminated in a bang as he landed flat on his back after tripping over a monitor. It was described by Facemelter as a “scary-turned-hilarious moment once we knew he was all right.”

Also thrilling was Daddy’s Little Smashing Pumpkin (Sam Herndon), who according to Facemelter, “Straight-up scared the shit out of everyone.” But being terrifying doesn’t mean a lack of professionalism. When his track malfunctioned in apparent fear, he took the setback with grace and essentially gave the crowd a full 90 seconds of air guitar.

San Diego stalwart Tyranicus, Lord of the End Times (Brandon Baker) faced some serious competition in Mario Speedwagon (Tim Granlund) who traveled to America’s Finest City from LA.  Mario ended up tying with the local using an awesome combination of Nintendo sound effects and Super Mario moves.

They both fought well, but each ultimately scored just .1 short of advancing to round 2. They still found new fans in some of the judges with one saying of Tyranicus: “You slid on your knees and spit, but I would have swallowed because I gave it a 5.9!"

The hilariousness continued as USAG legend Dry Ice took the stage for the first time since 2014. As always, he was covered in baby powder leaving his essence all over anyone within a 20-foot radius. As everyone quickly discovered—once you get a whiff, you just want more. They sent him on to round 2. 

“It now smells like my first boyfriend’s penis in here,” one of the judges quipped. 

Ultimately, the competition came down to two USAG veterans—two-time San Diego Champ Jolly Green Shredding Machine (Nathan Briles), and longtime competitor Sweetness (Kyle Privette), who came all the way down from Sacramento. 

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While Jolly Green performed an incredible first round performance, more than holding up to his previous winning routines, he found some serious competition in Sweetness who likely put on the best performance of his career. 

They both absolutely slayed in the second round and Sweetness managed to catch-up and tie with the Machine. This meant that once again, there was another thrilling 2018 USAG AIR OFF!!!

Almost as an extra special anniversary present (the 10-year gift is air, right?), this was the first air off in San Diego history. The excitement was beyond palpable— and not just for the crowd. The energy of the moment seeped into Sweetness and Jolly Green and they graced the world with an impromptu dance performance to Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” during the first listen through the air off song. Perfectly in sync, if there was a way for them both to take the trophy for epic moves alone, they’d both be champs.

Their final scores differed by only .1 but in the end, it was Jolly Green Shredding Machine that pulled out the win for his third San Diego title. In a night of hilarious, exciting, emotional moments honoring a great and storied scene, it felt right to have the hometown hero continue his reign. 

Next, Jolly Green Shredding Machine will be facing off against the rest of the regional champs at the U.S. Air Guitar Nationals on August 4thin Brooklyn, NY at Rough Trade NYC

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Kriston Rucker