Ori and the Air Guitar


If you watched the show last week, you were treated to a performance by 2006 U.S. Air Guitar champion Hot Lixx Houlahan. I was so inspired by it, that when we got to the regional trial at the Avalon in Salt Lake on Friday night, I just felt the need to enter as a walkon. Little did I know what would soon transpire.

First of all, let me say that while the Avalon was a nice enough venue - the right mix of seediness, plus a great stage & sound, being an all-ages club (aka alcohol-free) definitely hurt in terms of rowdiness of the crowd... that, plus the rows of benches, which encouraged people to sit down, and maybe a lack of promotion meant that it was a sparsely attended event.

That said, once the first few-face-melting licks started pouring from the speaker towers (foreshadowing), the crowd that was there was treated to quite a show.

Hot Lixx did a tremendous job as the Master of Air-emonies, and the four judges - JP from SLUG Magazine, Jamie Gadette and Bill Frost from City Weekly and X96's Portia Early really took their jobs as semi-seriously as they should.

I'll be honest, when I saw the performances from the guys who had signed up in advance, allegedly practiced their routines and were supposedly prepared...I was left a bit flat. There wasn't a lot of movement on-stage, they didn't use the environment well (a nice drum riser to jump off of, stage wedges to rest your foot on, etc.) and they weren't all that energetic to boot. So it was with great confidence that I hopped up on stage to show the crowd how it should be done.

You can see from the video that I had some fun with it, but honestly, I had no idea what I doing up there beyond jumping around and throwing some sweet rock kicks out. When the judges announced their scores, I was as stunned as the rest of the crowd.

But nothing I did on-stage could match the entrance of Drew-S.A., who drove a big, honkin' Harley down the aisle, and then brought some heat to the performance.

I ran out of gas at the end of the compulsory round, and fell over on my last jump, but all-in-all, it was a great time, and I can't wait for next year, when hopefully even more competitors will come out and bring the "airness."

This was not my first brush with air guitar -- back in 2001, I helped create and was the model for AOL's "How to Be an Air Guitar God" photo essay, which unfortunately was scheduled to run on the Welcome Screen on the morning of Sept. 11, so it never quite rocketed me to fame and fortune -- that seems to be my M.O. -- always just a hair short of the pinnacle.

-- VIDEO: Ori's 1st Round Performance, uncut | Hi-Res
-- Final Scores: USAG SLC Regional [courtesy USAG Blog]