Oh, Mama! Oh, Nashville!
This is a Guest Post by Whit Hubner AKA Witness
1st Place: Nicole Sevcik - Mom Jeans Jeanie
2nd Place: Justin Amalgi - Smiley Rod
Organizer: Whit Hubner - Witness
Recap: We started the night with a packed house. I swear we went from 30 people in the place to over 100 in like 30 minutes. The number draw from the magic cowboy boot happened. CindAIRella, who had already won a qualifier, but still wanted to perform for Nashville, declared that she would go first with an intentional DQ. That left the other 8 to select the remaining slots. It shook out like this:
2.Jimmy Peters (Nashville)
3. Mom Jeans Jeanie (Atlanta)
4. Shorty McShred (Nashville)
5. Smiley Rod (NYC)
6. Stack Attack (KC)
7. Iron Dragon (KC)
8. Farty McFly (NYC)
9. Glory Wholesome (KC)
The night started out with a tribute to our Air Brother and the reigning Nashville Champ, Andres SegoviAir. Coordinated by Van Dammage who recreated his chair guitar prowess as best he could before welcoming the rest of the competitors on stage with signs that read "Rule Your Air" and then rocking out in unison to the final seven bars of the spanish guitar track that Andres perfected over nine years of competing to it. During the show the chair remained on stage with the sunglasses (at least 'til Farty kicked it over mid performance. Rest In Peace Andres, you were a true champion of the sport and made Nashville proud as our champion in 2016.
Next on stage as we start the competition was CINDAIRELLA, who put on an amazing performance with a rockin Radiohead cut. As mentioned, since she already had won a qualifier this year, she could not officially compete in another, but decided to bring the rock to set the tone regardless. Her "extended edit" brought out the DQ (wink, wink). Scores: RDC: (DQ) DW: 5.6 CG: 5.7
After her performance we introduced the judges to the Family Wash/Garage Coffee audience and competitors. Our first judge was the Founding Father of Supercountry, Very Entertaining recording artist Dutch Whisky. This was Dutch's first competition but he is certainly aware of the intricacies of performance art and comedy. Next was the Motor City Kitty, Radio producer and host of the syndicated rock show, "Under The Gunn". Another newcomer to Air Guitar competitions but someone that knows Rock and Roll and kick ass live performances. Judge number 3 was our featured performer and veteran of the judges table, 2010 U.S. Air Guitar Champion, Romeo Dance Cheetah. He was in great spirits even though I drug him all over Music City promoting the event the night before til 3AM. Dutch and Candy gave honest feedback and scores for CindAIRella only to have those scores erased when Romeo brought up the fact that her track was a minute and a half long. Clearly breaking the rules of the competition (Wink, Wink). It was a great way to let the audience know that there are rules and this is a real competition. Since I mentioned the crowd, I have to say they brought their game face. Loud, Rowdy and ready to rock.
JIMMY PETERS was 2nd and while drawing the early slot, he set a seriously kick ass tone for the evening. A 4 now 5 time competitor from Music City, he returned to the U.S. Air Guitar Nashville Qualifier after a couple year hiatus. I am glad he returned, he brings serious skills and a big personality. Scores: RDC: 5.4 CG: 5.6 DW: 5.25
Next up (3rd) was everyone's favorite rockin Mom/MILF who is currently ranked 3rd in the WORLD. Yes that's right, MOM JEANS JEANNIE!!! picking early is always tough... but nonetheless, if you kick ass at this level, you cannot be denied. This Chardonnay Spewing, Antibiotic spreading, biscuit baking, pistol packing, Tenacious D rockin, Hot Momma from Hotlanta is simply On Fire! Crowd went nuts. Watch out, OULU! Scores: RDC: 5.7 DW: 5.85 CG: 5.6
4th start went to the uber funky, seriously bad-ass, Music City representing man of mystery, SHORTY MCSHRED. Shorty was YUGE this night! His LED fingers were flying Up and down the neck of his air guitar! This guy brought it hard, making me wonder if McShred had competed with Shred from DC in the past, who he reminded me a lot of. All over the stage and drawing the first folks out of their seats, to the stage to cheer him on. Strong performance to some badass Stryper music, finished off with a shot of confetti that will likely hang from the lights at the family wash for years to come.. Judge Whisky was definitely picking up what Shorty was puttin' down! Scores: RDC: 5.6 DW: 5.9 CG: 5.6
5th was a man from NYC, Who nowadays calls Nashville home. SMILEY ROD clearly brought the most fans with him. Everyone realizes this as he came to the stage, the crowd shifts like a flash mob, they filled the front of the stage 3 deep. His track had a great heavy punk metal sound from a band I will be definitely checking out now, called We'rewolf. His spandex got a serious workout as this was the most athletic performance of the night. Jumps, Kicks, head banging, shredding darling of the crowd Smiley kept the energy at a super high level. He definitely caught the attention of the Motor City Kitty, Miss Candy Gunn. Scores: RDC: 5.6 DW: 5.6 CG: 5.9
our 6th performer, STACK ATTACK, hails from the super cell of air guitar, Kansas City. Her energy and spirit have always brought a smile to my face and tonight was no different. Her track was a super fun throwback to some kickass Glam Rock parties from my high school days in the 80's. She shredded hard and brought the glitter quota way up. Solid scores from the judges for a solid performance. Scores: RDC: 5.5 DW: 5.7 CG: 5.7
A man with a Game of Thrones attitude and a Freak Brother on dead tour groove was our 7th air gun slinger. IRON DRAGON kept the Glam Rock edge of the night going with a deep Bowie Cut. Earl Slick provided the aural stimulation with a plethora of slick licks. Iron Dragon brought it hard drawing another round of solid scores. Another of the KC crew keeping the pressure on the competition. Scores: RDC: 5.6 DW: 5.85 CG: 5.6
Our 8th competitor was a real stinkAIR!!! From the Big Apple and channeling his gas as well as his best 80's hollywood icon impersonation... FARTY MCFLY then took the stage. While some are silent but Deadly, Farty is more Loud & Nuclear! The judges and most of the audience clearly got the joke, the references and the classic licks and duck walking of the late great true King of Rock N Roll, Chuck Berry. Farty brought his A game and the judges for the most part agreed with Judge Gunn handing out the first 6 of the night to the cheers of the packed room. Scores: RDC: 5.5 DW: 5.8 CG: 6
Last but certainly not least was the dreamy Air Guitar bad ass chick rocker known as GLORY WHOLESOME! Hailing from KC, Glory rocked it so hard it took me back to my 13 year old self ricking some Cheap Trick in 1980 when I saw them at the Tennessee Theater. She rocked the hell out of Rick Nielson and drew the crowd to a frenzy. Glory Wholesome is the shit and getting better every time I see her. Scores: RDC: 5.5 DW: 5.5 CG: 5.83
Halftime gave the crowd a moment to catch its breath. The electricity in the room was intoxicating and Music City was clearly tripping on how much fun Air Guitar is. Next onto the stage was our judge and celebrity performer, the one and only, ROMEO DANCE CHEETAH! The audio rockumentary was like watching a superhero story unfold over red velvet spandex and the very sparkly girl he coaxed onto the stage. Like the image on the event poster RDC took command of the city and brought it to it's highest heights, slinging awesomeness in all directions.
The Score keeping was handled by the burlesque badass, Miss Schatzi Love, Upon crunching the numbers, 3 & 4 had the same score but Paper covered the Rock settling the order of round 2.
The standings and scores after round 1 were:
1. Mom Jeans Jeanie = 17.45
2. Farty McFly = 17.30
3; Shorty McShred = 17.10
4. Smiley Rod = 17.10
5. Iron Dragon = 17.05
6. Stack Attack = 16.90
7. Glory Wholesome = 16.83
8. Jimmy Peters = 16.25
After the top 5 joined me onstage they got to hear the track they would be competing to. The song edit was from Soundgarden's Spoonman (RIP Chris). With a couple stops and some serious shredding from guitarist Kim Thayil on this classic 90's grunge rocker there is much to play with.
IRON DRAGON went first and having only heard the cut once, launched into some sick licks garnering solid scores from the judges to start round 2.
Scores: RDC: 5.7 DW: 5.8 CG 5.7 = 17.25
SMILEY ROD took the stage second and again upon climbing on stage the front of the house filled with Smiley fans. He clearly knew the song well and brought a serious technically sound performance while performing three of the first ever stage dives off the Family Wash stage. Crowd goes nuts and the judges dug the shit out of the over the top craziness of the performance. They gave it the highest core of the night (so far).
Scores: RDC: 5.8 DW: 5.9 CG: 6.0 = 17.7
3rd up was the uber funky man of music city, SHORTY MCSHRED. The competition was fierce and Shorty clearly knew he had to take it up a notch. Going to shredding extremes and commanding the stage, Shorty clearly had built his fanbase as the crowd was very vocal about their appreciation for his performance. Even the girl whose face caught his fro-wig was cheering for him.
Scores: RDC: 5.7 DW: 5.9 CG: 5.8 = 17.4
Up 4th and currently holding the second place standing was FARTY MCFLY. In his Michael J. Fox, Back To The Future 2 outfit, he made his presence known by launching himself off SegoviAIR's chair and then running through the crowd which was not easy with the crowd packed in like they were. The judges dug it and gave out some strong numbers.
Score: RDC: 5.7 DW: 5.8 CG: 5.9 = 17.4
Closing out the competition portion of the evening was MOM JEANS JEANNIE. If there is an air guitarist more on their game than Mom Jeans Jeannie right now, I'll smack my own momma. She removed any doubt in the audience like she removed the bacteria from her hands before the super shredding began. With flashing lights, high waisted pants and a smile to die for, this mother of Air Guitar slayed the audience and left the room screaming for more while earning the highest score of the night.
Score: RDC: 5.9 DW: 6 CG: 5.9 = 17.8
As the scores were tallied we realized that this was a really tight competition and .1 point was the difference between earning a trip to Philly for semi's and having to go the dark horse route. The anticipation in the room was quite palatable.
Standings and Scores after round 2:
1. Mom Jeans Jeannie 17.45 + 17.8 = 35.25
2. Smiley Rod 17.1 + 17.7 = 34.8
3. Farty McFly 17.3 + 17.4 = 34.7
4. Shorty McShred 17.10 + 17.4 = 34.5
5. Iron Dragon 17.05 + 17.25 = 34.3
After the standing ovation and bowing to the crowd, the audience, judges and competitors all covered the stage and rocked out to the Sweet southern rock sounds of Jacksonville's own Lynyrd Skynyrd. The night was monumental and one of the proudest moments of my life. The show went off without a hitch and lived up to all my wildest dreams.
Our charity partner was People Loving Nashville. The drive for fresh skivies for Nashville's homeless yielded a huge suitcase full of Haynes and Fruit Of The Loom goodness. As the skynyrd jams concluded, The Post Show Party hosted by PLN with guest DJs Father Ryan and DJ ImagiNathan kicked off. The Family wash/Garage Coffee was boogying like I've never seen it before and the staff was clearly enjoying the party dance scene.
Special Thanks for our sponsors First Tennessee Bank and Hocus Pocus Salon. Next up for Air Guitar in Music City is courtesy of First Tennessee Bank who has brought yours truly in to lead the attempt to break Björn Türoque's Guinness world record for the most people air guitaring at one time. This will happen on Friday June 30th, 2017 (My birthday), after the Nashville Sounds Triple AAA baseball team and before the Friday Night Fireworks show at First Tennessee Park in downtown Nashville.
Special Thanks to Jason Berg who filmed and photographed the event and Van Dammage and CindAIRella for figuring out and setting op the Facebook Live stream.
I will never forget this night. It may be my favorite production I have been involved with in all of my 30 plus years of events. Definitely top 5. World Peace is within reach. Air Guitar Rules. Rule The Air!