Boston’s air guitar faithful assembled at Brighton Music Hall on Friday night. They came to talk loudly over the judges’ commentary, and they stayed to marvel at performances that were by turns inspiring and reviling.
The air guitarists of Boston have long toiled fruitlessly in the glittery shadow of four-time champ McNallica (Erin McNally), whose charisma and fire was insurmountable even on the rare occasion she faced a worthy challenger. But with McNallica’s retirement came opportunity, and when Brighton Music Hall appeared on the horizon through our banana-peel-streaked windshield, a scrappy band of opportunists was waiting for us, composed of veterans and newcomers alike.
They faced a panel of expert judges consisting of 2008 world champion Hot Lixx Hulahan (Craig Billmeier), Fenway Recordings founder Mark Kates (Mark Kates), and former Boston champ Windhammer (Rob Weychert).
Under those judges’ scrutiny, only one of the newbie competitors made it to the second round, but they were all worth watching. Yaya (Brianna Shetler) almost certainly went home with a shampoo endorsement deal; The Marquis (Rob Messel) brought some Victorian flavor for our fledgling PBS Masterpiece Classic demographic; and Booty Lovin’ Pirate (Timothy Helming)… Well, (s)he lactated all over the stage.
But it was the veterans who truly got the air circulating. There was Rockupine (Jeff Stiles), whose authenticity was exemplified by his decidedly unstuffed pants. There was Operation Rock-A-Pussy (Michael Lovely), who will literally be shitting glitter for days to come. There was Danny Tanner Tantrum (Jaime Farnan), who can expect a phone call from Bob Saget any day now. There was Captain Airhab (Matt LeBel), who undoubtedly relishes every opportunity to misspell “seaman.”
Rockupine was in the lead when the second round’s compulsory song was revealed: a tricky edit of the Kansas classic “Carry on Wayward Son.” But when the smoke cleared, it was the uniquely infectious and unhinged enthusiasm of Danny Tanner Tantrum that emerged victorious.
Your new Boston champion will compete in the national finals in Denver on July 21st. If the verb form of tantrum is “to tant,” Denver better be ready to get tanted.