Photo by Kim Baldwin.
No Hot Lixx. No Bjorn. No ATC. No problem. Well, mostly. U.S. Air Guitar double-booked Friday night, so the air legends risked their lives in a rainstorm trying to get to Boston. You guys want to skip KC and cheat death on the way to Beantown? Fine, we’ll do it without you. And we’re doing it and doing and doing it well, as LL Cool J would say. OK, maybe not so well since the Master of Airemonies was Dr. Rockso incarnate, “Creamy” Captain Stevie Cruz, and the judges were me (Justin Kendall, managing editor of The Pitch newspaper ), Andrea Silenzi (producer of KCUR radio’s Central Standard) and Gregg Todt (Federation of Horsepower frontman).
Andrea and I judged last year’s Kansas City regional, and this year was far and away the best talent this city has seen. Not just because of the air mass that moved in from Denver, which included Magic Cyclops (Magic CyclopsTM), Dick Diesel (Jerrod Dewey) and Dyin’ Cletus (John Humphrey), whose mommy was also in attendance (a sweet, sweet moment when mother hugged son, who was wearing his Stars and Bars skivvies and “Redneck butts drive me … penis in a cowboy hat” wife beater). Kansas City’s homegrown air guitarists have been marinating since last year’s show, and they were fall-off-the-bone ready.
Photo by Christy Ubelaker.
Candy-throwing creepy clown BOB (Nathan Victor) forced everyone to confront their (unhealthy) fear of clowns. However, his inability to pop his smiley face balloon deflated the fear factor. Glory Wholesome (Whitney Young) brought a shimmy and shake to Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls.” Stack Attack (Amy Stack) channeled the 8-bit goodness Zelda’s Link, but she met the first round’s kill screen. Rabid Dong (Christy Ubelaker) and Sonic Bitch (Rachelle Landreth) would grab most improved honors if such a thing existed. Dong looked like a much sexier Angus Young and the latter unfazed when following three blasts of airness (more on that later).
Thunder Ball (Nielsen Nacis) lost his eyeliner earlier in the night, but he overcame the nearly debilitating loss to glam himself into the sexiest, most flexible bitch on the Sunset Strip in 1985. Dick Diesel looked like he raided Brutus “The Barber” Beefcake’s closet and Andre The Giant’s sock drawer (unless that thing in his red-and-yellow spandex jumpsuit was real). Diesel attempted a back flip but lost points on the landing. Blame it on his endowment.
The most anticipated performance of the night (and every air guitar year), was Peter “Stiff” Dickens (Nick Colby). The always unpredictable enigma plugged in for a solo of “Smoke on the Water,” and despite intentional technical difficulties, he persevered to leave the judges (namely, me) speechless. In contrast, Magic mastered Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl,” blurring the line of reality and pantomiming. Folks, that’s airness.
Two-time Kansas City defending champion Eric “Mean” Melin knew this would be his toughest KC regional challenge. He’s nurtured KC’s air guitar community like a momma bird, mouth feeding them like Alicia Silverstone. And these baby birds are now air-guitar toting super birds ready to kill. Melin was game. In his finest performance to date, Mean mashed up Queen’s “Brighton Rock” with Megadeth’s “Bad Omen” and reached a new plane of airness, unveiling a smoke and light contraption known as “The Rock Box.” This wasn’t a case of smoke and mirrors. Melin was the real deal.
A hard act to follow, but Cletus proved worthy, six-shooting his way through a little bit of country, a little bit of Blazing Saddles, and a little bit of heavy fucking metal.
Finally, the CorpAIRation (Brian Reeves) pulled his act into near perfect alignment with a Halliburton toting lackey, a Holy Grail air guitar, and Pink Floyd’s “Money.” Throw in a make-it-rain moment, and you’re in round two, son.
So the five, actually six due to a third-place tie, advancing to round two (from top to bottom): Melin, Magic, Stiff, CorpAIRation, Dyin’ Cletus, and Thunder Ball.
And round two’s 60-second song: Kansas’ “Carry on Wayward Son.” Kansas? This is Missouri, motherfuckers.
The second round is a bit of a blur — Thunder Ball twisted, Cletus stripped (see above), the CorpAIRation jammed — until Dickens jerked off PBR tall boys on the crowd. Stiff may be facing involuntary manslaughter charges after flinging his can across the room.
Photo by Dyin Cletus.
The final two came down to Magic and Mean. Magic followed the well-worn route of former champions, riding on the shoulders of Diesel to the judges’ stage. Unfortunately, he splattered face first while the song played on. Not even shooting confetti from his ass could pull up his score.
Melin rocked a solid final set. This was his contest to lose, and he didn’t lose it. He earned his third regional championship. The guy worked his sweaty, sweaty ass off and deserves the trip to the championships in Denver.
Finally, a plea to our friends, Hot Lixx, Bjorn, ATC, and Zero Prospects: Come back. We miss you guys.
Today’s post is brought to you by celebrity blogger Justin Kendall.