Chicago Qualifier Rocks Faces, Helps Friends

- This is a guest post by Rocky Rhoads, organizer of the Chicago Qualifier -  Chicago, for the second year running, held its qualifier in an underground venue with inadequate WiFi. It was for this reason that, though we tried our hardest to achieve a steady stream, we had to abort live streaming entirely in the interest of keeping the show moving. The band playing beforehand had a set lasting until 10:45 and after much commotion Chicago’s Air Guitar Qualifier finally got on the road at around 11:30.

Judging Lineup:

  • THE WHITE FLAME. Veteran judge and past Chicago regional champion, monument to girl power and ass-kicking dance moves.
  • ROMEO DANCECHEETAH. 2010’s US Air Guitar National Champion in his judging debut!
  • HANK PEARL of Black Pearl Photo. The hardest working photographer in the Chicagoland area, specializing in all things metal. Brand new to the world of air guitar!
  • SARAH SHOCKEY. Local writer, performer, tweeter, viner, cartoonist, and all-around comedy maven. Another enthusiastic newcomer to the fold!

Howlin' Hank HawkinsRound 1 got off to a great start with rookie THE ROACH taking the plunge, and veteran ERIK VON ERIKSON returning to the Chicago Qualifier stage. 7 competitors were slated to rock that night, but then the spirit of rock and roll manifested itself on our stage as a drunk reveler who demanded to wield his air axe. We queued up Air Guitar classic Reign in Blood and WILDCARD was born! We saw new and exciting incarnations of veterans VIVA LA MUERTE, NOCHE, and Underwear Bonus winner MIDNIGHT MANIAXE. The one and only SLAM CABBAGE funked our faces off, and newcomer HOWLIN’ HANK HAWKINS blew the lid off the joint, showing us youngsters how to shred a surf-ified version of Iron Maiden’s The Trooper!

Second Round Compulsory Smorgasbord:

  • AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap
  • Journey – Any Way You Want It
  • Steve Miller Band – Jungle Love
  • The Offspring – Come Out and Play
  • The Kinks – All Day and All of the Night
  • Van Halen – Panama
  • Fleetwood Mac – I Don’t Wanna Know
  • Elvis Presley – Blue Suede Shoes

In second we returned to the Brooklyn Method re-tooled as the mysterious and powerful PINT OF POSSIBILITIES, full of classic rock and roll hits ripe for the shredding! Of the 3 competitors who will be moving on to Chicago’s Semifinals, Slam Cabbage stood out with his 3rd-place securing rendition of Jungle Love. Both Midnight Maniaxe and Howlin’ Hank Hawkins elected to do some Dirty Deeds with AC/DC, which was coincidentally the very first song we heard that night and the only song re-played at all! (the Pint was very popular.) Howlin’ Hank Hawkins was able to edge-out a first place over Midnight Maniaxe, who will no doubt be hungry for rock and roll revenge come Semifinals!

NocheAnd as if having the most fun ever wasn’t enough, we were able to raise a grand total of $202 for Neighborhood Services, a non-profit providing home care for adults with disabilities, which our very own Noche is a part of! In fact, Noche needs our help right now: she cares for two women with disabilities, as well as her own children, and uses a wheelchair-accessible van for transportation. The van has been in dire need of repair since last summer. Last fall, it was stolen and taken on a joyride, suffering even more damage. The van was recovered, but the repairs it now requires are insurmountable: what they need is a new van. As a member of our air guitar family, we want to help - so not only this qualifier, but also others across the country, will be donating a portion of their proceeds to her efforts. You can help, too - just visit her GoFundMe fundraising page!

Extra Special Thanks:

  • CLEOPLECTRA for her sharp-shooting camera work!
  • RON THE SOUND GUY for playing along with our bullshit all night long!
  • ALL THE AMAZING PEOPLE who came out to play! Seriously, such a great crowd, and everyone had a total blast!
  • And of course PABST BLUE RIBBON for fueling the madness!

<3 Rocky

photos by Nicole Sevcik

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