Christ was sacrificed anew Friday night, as AIR JESUS (Jojo Longbottom) and MIDNIGHT MANIAXE (Erik Pertl) both took the Midwest Conference Final, although it took US Air Guitar’s team of mathematical geniuses two full days to officially name Jesus as co-champion. But hey, it took an army of Roman soldiers three days to fuck him over the first time, so maybe we’re not doing so bad after all?
“Nailed it!” Photo credit Miriam Doan.
Regardless, one thing that was clear Friday night to everyone but Microsoft Excel: On his cross, Jesus nailed it.
And, about Midnight Maniaxe’s performance, if I may quote from scripture, “holy shitballs” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
As the evening’s livestream gets chopped squirted onto our youtube channel in the coming hours, those who watched live will mostly remember Maniaxe’s raw chops, Air Jesus affixed to his 8-foot cross, FLYING FINN’S (Andrew Finn) technically flawless second round, and a sassy newcomer named MOM JEANS JEANIE (performed by veteran Nicole Sevcik).
Midnight Maniaxe. Photo credit Steve Cashdollar.
What was Mom Jeans’ secret to winning our hearts so quickly? Certainly not luck, as she drew the 4-hole . . . not the easiest spot to advance rounds. Chatting with VAN DMG after the show, we deconstructed some finer points: (Act 1) her intro video setup her nerdy-but-lovable persona in both pictures and music; then she broke out with fruit roll-ups, a smile, and the first few seconds of her performance included a snippet from the intro video (Act II, wheret he crowd is tricked into thinking they’ve always known her); finally, Mom breaks out of her shell (Act III, where hilarity and mayhem ensue).
Lastly, there’s the mom factor itself, historically the most revered and depended uponfigure in the air guitar community. We depend on them for support, rides, costumes, guyliner and more. Nordic Thunder’s leather codpiece? Made by Thunder Mother. Those cookies Hot Lixx brings to Seattle every year? Mom. Airesol’s childhood acrobats camp? This, and so much more, all thanks to mom.
Mom Jeans’ fellow second-rounder, Rocky Rhoades (Gina Czarkowski) brought her trademark energy and total fucking abuse of the stage, and nailed both her first and second rounds, but was accused of “losing the song a little bit” by the guy sitting in the third judge’s seat. Of course the crowd, the livestream audience and most importantly this fucking guy all disagreed; it maybe that she needed that extra round two umf which generally wins over judges, but miss a lick Rocky Rhoades most certainly did not.
As for Flying Finn, who is now entering his second decade at the competitive level, he hit every single note of our difficult compulsory edit, Hellacopters’ “By the Grace of God.” But the evening’s judges seemed a tad bent toward crowd participation over technical specificity. Finn finished in 3rd place overall and will be extended an invitation to the National stage. As has always been the case, judging panels have a style, and as far as Friday night’s panel goes, former National Champion ROMEO DANCECHEETAH (Matt Corneilson), Sunny Megatron (Sex With Sunny Megatron on Showtime) and that third guy were fair and, most importantly, consistent.
Speaking of former National and World Champions, Nordic Thunder and Romeo DanceCheetah put on one helluva halftime show. (Again, vdeos coming soon).
Turning back to last night’s champions, relative newcomer Midnight Maniaxe charmed the crowd with a less-is-more approach. Probably influenced by 2013 World Champion Mean Melin, Maniaxe uses his “there” guitar skills (he missed a show last year due to tour conflicts) to first charm and then obliterate the crowd. At first, he starts without a bang; then, building suspense as the guitar expands, he lets his instrument break out of the confines of traditional guitar with ambidexterity, explosions, etc. The worst performers are often people who also play a traditional guitar and limit themselves to every limitation and assumption therein; the best performers are also often people who play physical guitars, but are then able blend traditional technicality with the inherent freedom of air.
As for Air Jesus, whenever I see three roadies hauling an 8 foot cross onstage I always think to myself, “it sucks that nobody works in Kansas but at least everyone has a lot of free time and a barn-sized toolshed in their backyard.” Two things are generally true about big dumb props: they’re big and dumb. But every now and again I’m fooled, like in 2009 during The Fro’s homage to C-Diddy. And I was fooled again on Friday night when Air Jesus was effortlessly fucking levitating (levitating!) around his cross while playing the first half of his track. His midpoint dismount was perfectly timed during a transition in his track, he landed it solidly, then kept on playing without missing a beat.
Check back soon for full videos, in the meantime here’s some nitty gritty.
Who won? Air Jesus & Midnight Maniaxe
Who advances to the Championship Finals in Portland? Midnight Maniaxe (1st – tied), Air Jesus (1st), Rocky Rhodes (2nd-tied), Mom Jeans Jeanie (2nd), Flying Finn (3rd).
Who should we watch out for next year? Black Widow (Erika Jarnes) & El Mago (Pascual Figueroa).
Who has two thumbs and helped draft a strongly worded letter to Microsoft Corp. this weekend? This guy.