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Concert Wed Apr 06 2011
Chicago is no stranger to national championships, and this summer it will play host to yet another. Chicago will for the first time be the setting for the 2011 US Air Guitar National Finals on July 23 at the Metro. Tickets go on sale at noon this Saturday.
"Chicago has always been one of our favorite stops on the competition circuit, and has even produced our reigning national champion, Romeo DanceCheetah," said Kriston Rucker, co-commissioner of US Air Guitar. "So it was with unmitigated delight that we accepted the Windy City's airtight bid and agreed to bring our nation's top virtual event to her number one second city."
Here's how it works: each regional competition consists of two rounds. In round one, each air guitarist performs for one minute to a song of their own choosing. Contestants are judged on a combination of technical merit, stage presence and "airness." (It goes without saying, all instruments must be invisible.) In round two, the top competitors from the first round perform to a surprise compulsory song. The national finals follow the same format, but each contestant performs a longer "set" in round one.
The national finals will bring together winners from 18 cities across the country to compete for the title of US Air Guitar Champion and go on to represent the United States in the Air Guitar Worldwide Championships held in Oulu, Finland.
Chicago will also be the first stop on the regional competition circuit, with the local qualifying battle royale scheduled for May 12 at the Double Door. Three-time Chicago finalist Justin "Nordic Thunder" Howard has announced that he will come out of retirement in hopes of bringing home the championship belt in front of the home audience. Perhaps he'll bust out his double-necked air guitar again.
Think you've got what it takes to beat him? Signups are currently open. Other cities holding regional competitions include Austin, Boston, DC, Denver, Kalamazoo, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.
"We've supported US Air Guitar since 2007 and with this being our fifth year of having an event at Metro, we're stoked to have the US finals land in Chicago and in our venue, for the first time," said Chris Baronner, senior talent buyer for Metro. Tickets for the July 23 final are not yet on sale.
The 2008 US and World Air Guitar Champion Hot Lixx Hulahan will be one of the judges for this year's competitions, and air guitar author and documentarian Björn Türoque returns as host for both the regionals and finals before heading to Finland to host the World Championships. Expect celebrity guest judges to be announced later in the summer.