US Air Guitar Mid-Atlantic Semifinals: Fretting Not, Tommy Fretless Takes DC


Turn it up loud. Friday’s decibels busted the sound compressor on USAG’s point-and-shoot.


WASHINGTON, DC -- July is dead season in the nation’s capital.  Rihanna routinely cancels shows.  Record temperatures and swampy thunderstorms from our own swampy thunderpants mean anybody’s who’s anybody hightails it to fairer climates.  Even Congress, which spends the rest of the year doing pretty much the same thing, lethargically prepares for its annual month off from “work.”


And yet Friday’s show at the 9:30 Club (hi, Loretta! Hi, Adam!), saw the biggest turnout in years, an enthusiastic crowd which certainly got its money’s worth when all-stars VAN DAMMAGE (Luke Sevcik), THE MARQUIS (Rob Messel), DOUG “THE THUNDER” STROOCK (Doug Stroock), BABERHAM LINCOLN (Bianca Cevoli) and TOMMY FRETLESS (Tommy Fretless) shook the free world stupid in their second – and for some third – round performances.


The evening culminated with a victorious Tommy Fretless after a three-way, third round air-off.  Fretless, you may remember, broke his leg in the ‘96 Summer Olympics and again before the 2011 U.S. Finals.  Friday night’s victory threatened to re-aggravate the injury, when in the second round he leaped from a sidestage speaker case onto the second level mezzanine where the judges were stationed behind a profundity of bunting.  But perhaps even more impressive than his leap was Tommy’s disappearing/reappearing act in round three: he dropped like a ton of dicks somewhere below the fog and stage monitors, only to reappear moments later, suspended godlike under the 9:30’s massive speaker towers.


Finishing tied for second, and thus also advancing to the U.S. Finals in Los Angeles, were Thunder Stroock and The Marquis.




Thunder Stroock, recently quoted by USAG General Manager Nat Hays as “the most technically proficient performer since Christ,” has indeed improved both his technical and his Rick Rude.  Perfectly timed moments of sexy and ‘stache pepper this third year veteran’s cock-rock routine that further refines itself every time we experience it.  Exhibitions which once required him to hype-up the crowd with pre-performance “butt metal” chants are now able to sell themselves schtick-free.



Second-year performer The Marquis seems to have also figured out the formula early.  We could discuss how he instinctively knew to ditch the wig for round two, or how he subtly inserted a talk box at the perfect moment for our Mötley Crüe edit, or how his penis came in third place.  Instead, just watch:



Earlier in the evening, prestidigitator Van Dammage received the highest first-round scores after catching a flying rose tossed by an adoring little fan.  VD then bit sharply into its bud, which somehow burst into a bloody fucking Ozzy mess all over his face.  Also performing Friday was his wife Ms. Dammage, aka CLEOPLECTRA (Nicole Sevcik), now 5 months’ pregnant.  She began her routine by tossing Thin Mints into the crowd.  Quipped celebrity judge HOT LIXX HULAHAN, “–not the first time I’ve seen a pregnant girl scout.” But I’d bet Fretophile’s Megan's Law-compliant studio apartment that it was most certainly the first time he saw one knee slide fully from one end of a huge stage to another.





Judging beside Hot Lixx was USAG’s first all-performer panel: Paul Alexander (FENDOR SPLENDOR, ret.) and DC’s legendary SHRED (Lance Kasten).

The Judges


The all-star judging panel advanced Baberham Lincoln into round two in third place.  Baberham, DC’s Qualifier Champ, who just last season was considered merely a rising star, is quickly becoming one of the Mid-atlantic’s top competitors.  A sharp and enthusiastic routine to her first round Darkness / “Get Your Hands Off” edit was followed-up by a “Kickstart My Heart” compulsory to which she brought a shocking level of comfort but not enough airness.  She got 5.8s across the board, a pretty amazing score considering she was only allowed to hear the edit once.


Baberham Lincoln


Perhaps most amazingly, from Friday’s cheap seats I saw a dozen waving Shazams in the hands of children attempting to ID Mötley Crüe’s “Kickstart My Heart.” The good news? Tweens are invading air guitar.  The bad news? We don’t play Nevada anymore.


Gynecologically speaking, after the show we all partied at DC’s Looking Glass and then took the after party to a secret roof-deck pool party overlooking the laziest buildings in the free world.  2012 World Champion NORDIC THUNDER promptly got nekkid.


Stay tuned for Wednesday’s Santa Cruz Qualifier.  Better yet, meet us there.


Nordic ATC BuntingPhoto credit: Ryan Mink.  Bunting credit: Nordic and Airistotle.

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