In air guitar, “fun” is open to interpretation

You can't spell F-U-N at the Canadian Air Guitar Championships without "Steam Whistle bukkake"... or can you?


CANADA NATIONAL AIR GUITAR CHAMPIONSHIPS at the Mod Club, Saturday July 25. Rating: NNN


“Are you guys ready to have some fun tonight?” the MC’s voice rang out. Then, more threateningly, “I said, are you guys ready to have some FUN?”

It would be the first of many check-ins and reminders about the Canadian Air Guitar Championships’ raison d’être: to bring FUN to the masses – and to help a good cause.

“I want all of you to go to bed feeling good tonight,” announced Mr. Bob, who’d been introduced as the Oldest Active Air Guitar Player and the event’s spiritual patriarch.  “Because of you,” he said, gesturing at the competitors, “a kid is going to get a toy instead of a gun” – a seeming reference to Right To Play, the fitness and education non-profit that would receive all the proceeds from the evening. 

And so fun was had in adequate amounts. Shreddie Van Lion whirled about to Panama in a lion mask and Eddie Van Halen onesie while Red Thor opened his mouth and spewed chunks on the horrified crowd mid-solo.

Kit AIR-ington, dressed as Jon Snow, tried to close the conceptual gap between “guitar” and “axe” to the obvious edification of the judges. “That was better than all of season five of Game Of Thrones!” declared one, which prompted a smattering of disbelieving boos from the crowd.

The boos also rang out for Thrust McNeely, who took the stage with an actual, real guitar. Those boos quickly turned to cheers when he smashed the guitar to pieces in the opening seconds of his routine. McNeely would go on to win the final round with an audacious strut, Coyote Ugly-style, across the length of the bar, narrowly beating out  The Lover Boy, who danced on the judge’s table while being showered in beer (the MC delightedly referred to this as a “Steam Whistle bukkake”).   

By far the best competitor of the evening was Morgan Joy, who clearly had dance and drama training in addition to guitar enthusiasm. She brought the house down with a homemade puppet performance of Barracuda in the first round, but followed it up with an interpretative dance routine that was decidedly too weird and un-rock for the judges, who apologized to the audience for allowing her to advance past the first round. Many in the audience disagreed loudly with this, and the judges seemed bewildered, as though the memo regarding FUN had not circulated broadly enough.

Another spirited performance by Jon Snow seemed to restore order. “That felt like a resurrection,” said one judge, “with an emphasis on ‘erection’.” 

music@nowtoronto.com | @Streetsbag

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