Southwest Semifinal: Youth Gone Wild
LOS ANGELES – Saturday night’s show at the Troubadour (where Elton John debuted; where GNR debuted Appetite, etc. etc.) brought several firsts to the world of competitive air guitar: first ever mother-son showdown, first time two high schoolers competed at the semi-final level, and first time a child, a female, and a corporate douche we all love to love advanced to the National Finals. Update: amazing LA Weekly slideshow right here.
Quipped The CorpAIRation (Brian Reeves) after the show, "Quite frankly I find all of this Air Guitar stuff to be a little beneath me, but when you're this rich it's hard to find things to fight off the tedium of private jets and $1,000 blackjack, so I figured why not."
Southwest’s Champion, KINGSLAYER (Paige King), entered the stage Saturday night from relative obscurity: she began her career last season with a performance that was energetic yet wholly forgettable. A year’s worth of practice, training and polish brought out a new performer altogether. This year we saw more technical, more comfort, and a few crowd-pleasers up her sleeve (like crotch-first crowd-surfing unsuspecting faces in the crowd). Her story is similar to fellow Angeleno SMART OLD BROAD (Maureen O’Neil), who didn’t make Saturday’s second round but still continues to train in the off-season and widen our smiles more and more with each performance.
Kingslayer momentarily loses her shit.
Heading into the second round on top of Kingslayer and everyone else was TYRANICUS, LORD OF THE END TIMES (Brandon Baker), who had the best shot at defeating Kingslayer up until we downloaded the compulsory track from the Finish servers. Problem is, Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” was released before Tyranicus was born. Rick Springfield's third reunion tour probably came after he was born, too.
Tyranicus, who burst onto the scene last year with a parody of Nordic Thunder’s Dr. Pepper commercials – his final AV project at Western High in Anaheim – may well usher-in the next era of air guitar on his little adorable and vicious shoulders. Commented possible blog reader and celebrity judge KRISTEN SCHAAL in a nonsexual manor, “I can see a lot of Airistotle in you.” But before he draws a bead on Finland, young Tyranicus will have to add improvisation to his currently near-perfect preparation. Champions like LT. FACEMELTER (Jason Farnan) tune into unfamiliar stations and ad lib performances at red lights; HOT LIXX (Craig Bilmeier) knows every song ever recorded, performed, whistled or farted; AIRISTOTLE can adapt any genre of music to fit his persona on the fly. With three weeks to go before the National Finals, Tyranicus would do well to study (and perhaps contact) each of them.
LA’s former regional champ, SIX STRING GENERAL (Tim Granlund), provided his most conceptual and, in my and Hot Lixx's opinion, best performance to date. He perfectly timed his first round performance with inside/outside it-was-all-just-a-dream-or-was-it effects from his expertly edited track. 6SG’s second round act brought karate although no one is quite sure why. Genius or insanity?
And how cool is it when our celebrity judges know their shit so well they reference other competitors from all over the country? The Sklars and Schaal are both giving confirmed blog reader Jason Jones a run for his money.
PRIVATE MELTER (Lisa Farnan), a late-add wildcard, kicked off the show with one of the better openers of the 2014 season. She was followed by various riff raff and then Santa Cruz’s SWEETNESS (Kyle Privette). Sweetness is part of the Air Guitar Santa Cruz contingent, currently returning their sleepy beach town to its former Lost Boys glory. We’ll feature some of Sweetness’ amazing photography here later.
Jolly Green Shredding Machine, jacket and underpants.
After Sweetness we saw JOLLY GREEN SHREDDING MACHINE (Nathan Briles) get all Blue Man Group on judges RANDY AND JASON SKLAR, Schaal and Hot Lixx. This came right after VLAD DM WAILER (Kolb Ettenger) took his act to the balcony where half the crowd had been cowering all night, perhaps for fear of becoming a prop in someone’s performance. In the end, they escaped The CorpAIRation’s fake blood and Kingslayer’s vagina – but not Vlad’s belly sweat.
Andrés SegoviAIR (J.D. Frankland), from the other side of Tyranicus and Air-Oh-Dynamic’s age spectrum, gave the best seated performance I’ve seen since Tommy Fretless’ injury-laden 2011 National Finals.
Air-oh-Dynamic misses second round by an inch but gets home before curfew.
And our old friend, SATAN’S ONLY BASTARD (Dan Adams), delighted us with another terrifying showing from the depths of hell and hot topic, or wherever one gets black baby-t’s and industrial grade chain belts these days. Pay close attention to the front row mohawk girl losing her shit.
I think I’m in love.