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The Search Is on for the Next Air or Air-ess

By Lizz Kannenberg in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 15, 2007 3:49PM

In the “reality TV”-obsessed era of “So You Think You’re the Next Bachelor Genius Idol” cultural saturation, there comes a time when every sensible man and woman must turn off the television and venture out into “reality life.” Luckily, the transition is eased by events like tonight’s regional finals of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships at Metro — ambitious folks with limited talent in a ridiculous “discipline?” Check! Less ambitious, more voyeuristic folks willing to pay to observe the first group perform feats of absurdity within said discipline? Check! One of the most storied rock venues in America to host this circus? Check!

Party%20on%2C%20Wayne-thumb.jpgWhat exactly happens when one competes in a guitar-playing contest sans guitar? More than you’d think — each competitor must prove his “metal” in both compulsory and freestyle rounds, trying to blanket the stage with rock-god stylings and unbridled physical interpretations of some of the most infamous riffs in rock 'n' roll history. The regional winners will convene in New York City this August to battle it out for the U.S. crown, which earns them a spot in the world finals in Finland this fall. The serious competitors bring a costume collection, duly shredderiffic nickname, and carefully calculated moves to the stage as they battle it out to see who can do the most justice to the over-the-top guitar heroics of the past. The very top air guitar maestros are ranked by the governing body and each have a signature look and song that have earned them such accolades.

Chicagoist was actually asked to enter the clash tonight, but we’re not entirely confident that impressions of our favorite indie rock heroes would merit much love from the judges or the crowd. If you were to enter the contest, what song would you pick to shred to?

The U.S. Air Guitar Championships regional competition kicks off at Metro tonight, 8 p.m., $15. No shirt, no shoes, no half stack … no problem.