Sacramento Is Set A-Blaze
This recap of Sacramento's Nor Cal Air Guitar Showcase is brought to you by its host, Sweetness! Coming off an inaugural year in 2015, the stage was set for a breakout year, and that’s exactly what the show goers at the Starlight Lounge got. Sacramento saw an incredible cast of 16 competitors grace the stage, complete with two sets of sibling duos, a presidential candidate, a past USAG National Qualifier and enough glitter to put a sparkle in Op Rock’s eye.
Kicking the show off with a USAG fanboy medley, Rockus Aireleous (Ben Thomas) and I (Sweetness) raged the stage and warmed up our panel of judges with hot moves wrapped in feather and leather. After knocking off a year’s worth air dust, the Sacramento stage was ready for competition to begin.
Round 1 saw all kinds of action, but probably not as much bedroom action as our first competitor saw after the show. With little clothing and just enough nipple coverage to get into a bar, Strap Tease (Caleb Bourg) gracefully took the stage as our first competitor. As any seasoned Air Guitarist would know, going first is tough, however, this second year veteran returned polished and with a solid performance of Led Zeppelin’s No Quarter, only falling victim to an unfortunate number draw.
Drawing a field of competitors from all around the region, seasoned veterans returned to Sacramento for their chance to take the crown and claim Sacramento as their own in route to the US Nationals in Austin, TX. Last year’s runner up, Tarradactyl (Tarra Thomas), picked up where she left off last year and left the judges in awe with a combination of sass and fierce energy. This performance was hands down the most watched of the night, in part due to the extreme rocking she exhibited, that kept everyone asking, “was that a nip slip?” Either way, 5.8 all the way around. A couple of CA staples also made their way to the stage Saturday night. Tiger Claw (Dan LeFever) stayed true to the pure art form and put on a technical showcase. SinGar the Goat Demon went full body hair and frightened the audience, tumbling to solid scores. Air Slap (Tyler Westcott) made his return to glory this year, opting for the boy next door look instead of the sex & spandex that won the judges over last year. Air Slap’s lower than usual scores were due in part to getting stuck in the 8 inch gap between the monitors and catwalk. That rough patch kept competitors challenged all night as they rocked across the stage.
Sacramento saw an equally impressive amount rookies in 2016. Sacramento rookie, Kit Kat (Kate Rose) brought an unmatched mix of sex, Michael Jackson moves, Dance Cheetah facial expressions and Air Guitar. Earning the first 6.0 of the night, she also gathered insight to what the judges wanted to see. With equally polarizing criticism from the judges for dancing, she moonwalked into the second round along with her brother, first time performer, Cameron “Axl” Rose (Cameron Rose). Let’s just say he has a Knack for Air Guitar, executing My Sharona to perfection. Another set of siblings were equally as impressive Saturday night. Fan favorite Phart Dauphine (aka Fart Dolphin aka Travis Bethmann) and Guilty Jam (Garrett Bethmann) cranked out style, energy and finger execution smothered in tight little packages of glitter and lube. Sky’s the limit for these two rookies. I have my darkhorse bets on these two challengers next year. Catching a USAG trading card at the SF Qualifier brought Electric Eel (Jacob Conger) out to Sacramento Saturday night. The only thing bigger than his scores that night was the gold member he was smuggling in his skin tight body suit. Longtime fan, first time competitor, Hex Girl (Sam Le Beau) finally made the jump to the big stage and played like veteran earning commendable praise from the judges. Sacramento’s “most likely to go back to jail” competitor, Skeezy Steve (Cat Temple), parked the candy van in the back, rocked the stage and then returned for a parole hearing and mandatory community service alongside the Fretophile. Chances of release for next year’s competition are still in appeal.
As show time was about to commence, a few last minute entries came in to round out the rookies. Facebook recruit and spoken word artist, Space Walker, took the stage as Space Rocker (April Walker) and performed Prince’s “While my guitar gently weeps” solo with the same passion and virtuoso. There’s a bright future for this one. Lugnut Axel Thor (Ryan Hickey) ended up performing an excellent marathon (2.5 minutes) of a song due to technical difficulties and Mango (Matthew Edwards) did his best top gun routine. Great performances, however these rookies just barely found themselves just out top contention.
All competitors were on top of their game this year, but two emerged in Round 1 to take first and second respectively. Bernie SandAirs (Derek Simmons Tobias) gave out free air guitars to the masses and rode the American Flag with technical prowess and heavy metal socialism, offended a judge or two, but he still left the crowd chanting “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie” into Round 2.
2015 Sacramento Champ Blaze BaadAxxe (Barry Rawlins) returned to the stage, firing out into the crowd his highly coveted Sacramento Air Guitar Trading Cards, casually kicked off his fire-orange vans like he was in his living room and put on a show that not only left the judges standing excitedly on their chairs but raised the level of competition to 11 on a scale of 1 to 10. With more hair and more red-orange clothing, Blaze picked up exactly where he left off one year ago riding top spot into Round 2.
In a spin of fate, Round 2 competitors spun the wheel of compulsory to decide which one of five songs they were to follow up Round 1 with. Starting in 5th place, Kit Kat ended up spinning her way to “You Pick” and satisfying all the Seth Leibowitz fans in the house by performing his 2013 cut of “Call Me Maybe.” Phart Dolphine and SinGar squared off for 4th, while Cameron “Axl” Rose and Tarradactyl battled 3rd, leaving Bernie and Blaze defending their top spots.
Rounding out the top of the bunch, tied for 3rd place were SinGar the Goat Demon & rookie-lefty-sensation, Cameron “Axl” Rose. And by a margin smaller than the current Democratic Primary, Blaze BadAxxe decidedly defended his crown to stay atop the best of the best in Sacramento. With a dynasty in the works, Blaze BadAxxe and Bernie SandAirs rightfully move on to represent Sacramento at the 2016 San Diego Semi-Finals.
Thank you again, Sacramento. I’m already looking forward to next year!