US Air Guitar Becomes “Main Event” at Qatar’s Biggest Bash
DOHA, QATAR -- This past week, US Air Guitar clawed its way to the top of the bill in Qatar’s biggest weeklong event supporting the 2015 Handball Championships (think Superbowl Village, desert style) and now the USAG All-Stars carry the title of “Main Event.”
Styled by WILLIAM OCEAN (Andrew Litz), the USAG All-Stars Qatar Edition consists of Ocean, National Champion AIRISTOTLE (Matt Burns) and World Champion NORDIC THUNDER (Justin Howard). The group began the week as a late addition to the bill and were hoped to, at best, create some word-of-mouth buzz about this event which was forbidden to advertise publicly because of the sensitive nature of selling sports fans alcohol in this otherwise dry country.
And yet from the All-Stars’ first set this past Tuesday the crowd reaction was immediate and overwhelming despite the Fun Zone’s many competing attractions, including free bungee jumping and various festival-style entertainment and concession stands – not to mention a booth offering evil temptations of the great satan’s deadly agent itself:
Despite these distractions, as the All-Stars took stage on that first night the entire Fun Zone crowd rushed the stage to see what this new act had to offer.
Early on, the event’s coordinators – an impressive and friendly combination of Arabs and French – warned the All-Stars against playing anything offensive, especially heavy metal, because in this region such performances can land you in prison. So, on the first night, Ocean performed to “Call Me Maybe” and ‘Stotle selected “99 Luftballons.” But in a “I guess you weren’t ready for that, but your kids are gonna love it” moment, Nordic demanded his trademark Slayer track, the very same that won him the World Title in 2011.
“If I get kicked out of a country for rocking too hard,” Nordic said on a conference call just before departing the U.S. “I mean, is there any higher compliment?”
As it happened, the performers were not arrested and the guy hitting spacebar still has his fingers. And without a doubt, the crowd was energized by Nordic’s risqué song selection and, when he entered the stage on the following evening, an ominous silence was quickly followed by the ooh’s and ahh’s of those who had witnessed his performance the previous night and the hundreds of people they brought to see what the All-Stars would bring this time round.
Much to their excitement, they brought Katie Perry, Carly Rae Jepsen and Nena. Qatar is like that.
Equally pleased, the crowd also heard DragonForce, Snoop Dog even more Slayer. Qatar is like that, too.
The All-Stars, whose assignment was to breath fresh air into an under-promoted event, instead tore the house down. Needless to say, the internal office memos-slash-newsletters are all abuzz with USAG content:
On word-of-mouth alone (remember the advertising restrictions), each night the crowds grow bigger and bigger, and last night there were some thousand-plus paid attendees (not to mention a gaggle of hospitality staff – a hodgepodge of Indian, Nepali, Sri Lankan and Filipino laborers) who first asked themselves what the fuck is going on and then later watched their faces melt off.
Tonight, the All-Stars get down on it with Kool and the Gang, who will be appearing in their one-night-only performance at the Fan Zone. (See what I did there?) We’re still waiting to hear of us will be the headliner.