US Air Guitar Qualifier: Chicago Style
-This post is by Rocky Rhodes, who brought the world Chicago's Qualifier on May 17th.- The total number of competitors sat at 7. An executive decision was made to tailor the situation to the circumstance: everybody would be going to round 2. A thick round 2. A Chicago Style round 2.
And then, to keep things interesting, round 2 would be conducted Kansas City Style, with the system of multiple songs assigned by choice and random drawings pioneered by KC Air Guitar last season.
Underground Lounge is literally underground. It is a perfect venue for an air guitar competition. It is a dark, dive-y basement bar with an entire room of out-of-order arcade machines, complete graffiti coverage on all bathroom mirrors, and the stage is only about a foot off the ground.
Our competitors for the night varied greatly in their air guitar backgrounds. A Chicago and USAG legend known for his nerdy personae (you know the one) re-invented himself as the mysterious Sparklehorse. National-level competitors The Marquis and Midnight Maniaxe took their first steps on the road to another big season. Noche, second timer and second-time #1-drawer, sought a spot in Semifinals. First timers Rainbow Riffer, The Air Apparent, and Leonardo Airvinci showed us what they're made of. And a last-minute competitor shocked everybody with his enthusiasm.
I will note that we did not even solicit for last-minute entries one bit. Underground Lounge's proximity to one of the rowdiest bar districts in the city provided for some additional crowd as groups looking for the next thing to do that night filed in and paid $5 at the door to see something they knew nothing about but knew was going to be weird and awesome.
About half way through round one I was pulled aside by The White Flame and an unassuming young man, and I learned that we had a last-minute competitor in khakis, boat shoes and a nice sweater. He insisted to us that he may be in a
frat fraternity, and he may look preppy, but he is a total metal head and he can get down with the best of them. This man told us to not judge a book by its cover. This man wanted to be called Tweak, he wanted to play air guitar that night, and so he went right ahead and MADE IT HAPPEN. This is what air guitar is about, people.
Also, for the second year in a row, the Underwear Bonus whipped the crowd into a dirty, smelly frenzy. After Leonardo Airvinci's legion of sexualized fans managed a staggering 14 underoos, it looked like he may have had it in the bag. That is, until The Marquis took the stage and reveled in another 14 undies, prompting Chicago's own Dry Ice, who I suppose originally thought that he would be merely spectating that night, to tear his underwear off of his body without removing his jeans. Noche made the scene too by throwing her own bodaciously spacious brassiere. These two pushed The Marquis over the top and into a humongous point bonus of .5 going into round two!