Dana ‘DANA-SAURUS REX’ Schiemann takes the 2018 Air Guitar Canada Championship Crown!
Graduation gowns. Tear-away (insert article of clothing). Dude on stilts. Funny as fudge judges. Various fire effects. The Von ‘Stache Crew. The Good Enough Live Karaoke Showdown. 4G! and our incredible host Nordic Thunder! These are just a few of the highlights that made up an epic night of joy-raising and celebration of World Peace in the name of Air Guitar and our charity Right to Play Canada
The following post shares the good times through the amazing photography of Henry Vanderspek who goes by the handle Culture Snap Photography. We also have a few choice videos from our resident videographer and editor Cat Mills. If you re-purpose a picture/video – please credit the Photographer/Videographer
After all the madness and mayhem, Dana-Saurus Rex – the 2018 Toronto Champ, emerged the winner and was crowned the 2018 Air Guitar Canada Champion. She will go on to represent our country at the 23rd Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, Finland. We will all be cheering for Dana, our fifth champion overall and second female champion, to become our first World Champion on August 25th.
We have so many to thank for bringing our season to its successful conclusion…
To our 2018 Local Organizers:
- Mike Erman and his team in Saskatoon who have done 3 years of successful events now in the name of a local arts charity: Creative Kids. They continue to push the boundaries and expand their performer base.
- Tyler Gardner and his crew in Red Deer for his four years of organizing events all over Alberta, most recently in support of Suicide Prevention in honour of our lost brother Joel ‘Hand Solo’ Zak. We miss you Joel.
- George Best and Marcus Iannatone of Medicine Hat Alberta for three years of successful events and just over $2500 raised for Right To Play and their local Women’s Shelter charity.
- Sandy Gibson from Ottawa for four years of amazing events at the House of Targ where we have some of our wildest and most celebrated nights.
- Amy Blackmore and Adam Reider and their team in Montreal for four years of Air Guitar Quebec events in and around her busiest time with the Montreal Fringe.
- To Arron Butowski in Kamloops, B.C. who has two events under his belt and a passion for Air Guitar that is virtually unmatched. He has schemes a brewing for the fine city of Kamloops – boldly unscripted.
- To Helene Laurin for the introduction to the team in Sherbrooke (Carole-Anne Fortin, Julie Witty-Chagnon, Mélissa Guimond and Danika Lépine (of Arrimage Estrie and CALACS)) who brought us Carolyne Mongeau – better known as Janine Suture. She overcame health challenges, used Air Guitar as a way to heal and help make difference with an on-line fundraiser that raised over $1000 in support of Right To Play.
- To Carlos Mengual for being an awesome partner in Air and helping to make the whole season along with Toronto and Ottawa events a breeze.
- To Mark Slater for his graphics wizardry in assembling all our posters for Toronto and even abroad in other markets
To our Judges:
Thank you for your careful review and super smart commentary. Everyone came away feeling like a rock star.
THE GOOD ENOUGH LIVE KARAOKE JUDGES:
Michelle Chalice – GELK organizer/singer and enabler of egos and karaoke stage time.
Mr. Bob – The World’s Oldest Air Guitarist
Nyree With A Microphone – Host extraordinaire, Burlesque Promoter and lead singer.
THE AIR GUITAR JUDGES:
Aurora Browne of the CBC’s The Baroness Von Sketch Show
Nathan Dales – Daryl from Letterkenny
Brandy Dawley – Longest standing Air Guitar Canada judge with 4 years of seniority.
David Finkelstein – Guitarist of Red Zeppelin & Kit Airington – the Jon Snow of Air Guitar.
Marilla Wex – The Foreign Correspondent of The Beaverton
To our Sponsors:
BANGER BINGO – for being the magic sauce of support for so many Alberta and Saskatchewan events. Book your holiday Banger BingoParty today.
Collective Arts Brewing for a great first year as our provider of fine suds and ciders. To Jordan, Kyle, Andrew and Elliott – you elevated our game and introduced us to some amazing judges!
Panago Pizza – our longest and most far reaching supporter. Panago has been supplying delicious za to fuel our rocking and helping us make a strong donation to our charity since 2014.
To Hog Town Pub and Oysters for the prizes year after year.
Blitz Printing for giving us a sweet deal and making sure our posters and flyers popped.
To the Drake Hotel for the gift certificates and support.
To The MOD Club for hosting another spectacular National Championships with all the trappings of a full-fledged rock show!
Let’s get down to the action:
GOOD ENOUGH LIVE KARAOKE COMPETITION!
It was the first ever, it was the finest so far. Contestants were competing for one of three trophies, some cash and some fine Panago Pizza gift certificates. Mostly it was about the chance to take the Mod Club Stage and have the time of their lives. We had costumes, props and whole lot of serious singing chops.
Sadly, our photographer showed up just a smidge late for the start of the singing and we missed out our first competitor the Gothic Marilyn Monroe. If we locate a photo we will update this post.
Up second was Amy Winehouse herself. Oh wait… that’s Anna Lise Walmer… dressed to the nines and just crushing it at Rehab!
Kicking up the rock was Jordan who gave the people who missed the Weezer show at the Ampitheatre a little Undone (sweater song), by the Weezeys. He moved like a man possessed and showed a taste for how physical this Karaoke competition was going to become!
Then came Claudio… Dropping a stellar version of Somebody by the Kings of Leon. Claudio was a strong performer who never stopped smilling all the way through.
Oh TIA! she was a natural singing Aretha Franklin’s Natural Woman. Tia caused the collective audience’s jaws to drop with her interpretation of this classic. Tia would win the top prize of the night.
JETT Black was next with a prop fuelled rendition of Black Sabbath’s Crazy Train. Complete with a Donald Drumpf Mask and bucket of other goodies, Jett totally brought the rock to another level. Performance art from start to finish.
SCORPION (a.k.a. Scott Baker) gave one of the more audience involved performances with Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell. He was masked and marvellous for his killer act.
Gracie Jet celebrated a birthday with us with the crowd joining in on the Happy Birthday singing. She seriously smashed her performance of Dolly Parton’s Jolene. She came all the way from Owen Sound to party with us and celebrate!
And Madge! After spending the first part of the night dancing and gyrating like a woman possessed at the front of the stage… it was now her turn to take the microphone. She sang Janis Joplin’s Take Another Piece of My Heart. She took our hearts and more.
Our only duet of the night. Leia and Lena – held the room in total awe with their brilliant cover of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball. These two voices sent shivers down our backs.
Zane brought the house crashing down with her performance of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing in the Name. Zane had the crowd hollering and moving to her rousing act! She commanded the crowd and even got ride of her pesky skirt to be even more bad ass for the climax of the song. It was a highlight of the night for sure.
Our final karaoke performance was by Jess. Hailing from Ottawa, Jess came into the big city that night to kick ass and take names with her performance of The Doors – GLORIA. She got the crowd chanting and the band played through the song like they had invented it.
That ended the Good Enough Live Karaoke Showdown. Huge thanks to Tim McCready and his band for rocking the stage and giving all these competitors the experience of a lifetime.
What a good looking crew! The stars of the first GELK Showdown! Stay tuned for the next GELK show in your neighbourhood.
Top 6 Performances as judged by our panel – based on criteria of a. Vocal Quality, b. Stage Presence/Persona, and c. Interpretation of Song:
- Tia – Natural Woman (Won the ‘Gnome Saying Trophy)
- Zane – Killing in the Name of (Won the B. Holiday Trophy)
- Scott (scorpion) – Rebel Yell (Won the Choir Boy Trophy)
- Jett Black – Crazy Train
- Jess – GLORIA
- Annalise – Rehab
THANK YOU to the band, judges, audience and ALL THE COMPETITORS!!!
TIME FOR AIR GUITAR!!!
After the singing came the twanging… Air Guitar Canada’s 5th championships was about to begin. Showing off the fine metal-work of Cat Friday, the 2018 Air Guitar Canada Trophy was revealed in the flesh for all the competitors and audience members.
NORDIC THUNDER was our host – he is the 2012 World Champion and slated to host the World Championships in Oulu, Finland this year.
We were so proud to welcome Right To Play Canada Ambassador – Anastasia Bucsis, Olympic Speed Skater who wished our competitors a great event. We’ve cleared $20,000 for charities across our events in Canada with over $15,000 going to Right To Play. With luck after the dust settles, we’ll hit $20,000 for Right to Play and $25,000 overall for 5 years of rocking out for goodness sake.
Nordic got the love flowing by asking our audience members to give each other a good hug and start spreading the good vibes.
Then we got started. CHAMP Forrester showed up for the Dark Horse competition, only to find out there was not Dark Horse portion this year. So to bridge that gap, Nordic invited him to join in the opening number of Eruption and Jump! He recruited a Bassist (Judge David Finkelstein, and Hanzel the Manzel on Key boards. Glen Airy Glen Rocks got up to sing – cause why not?
We got a few good hops in there!
Hanzel looks like he’s yogic flying.
Various stages of flight.
And Now….THE COMPETITION!
Whisky Pockets. He came with a fan section. He was also first, as he drew the short straw. Always one for a challenge and never one to let the bastards get you down… he delivered a solid performance to Tenacious D, earning scores: 5.7, 5.6, 5.7
Our first competitor from out of town, the Montreal Vice-Champion, Shay ‘Shreddin’ Scales’ Spivak came at the crowd with a bold choice of “Pala palalta” by Stam1na. She was style personified. We were so thrilled to welcome her to the Nationals stage as she has been a longtime performer in Montreal. The Judges awarded her: 5.4, 5.6, 5.6.
Toronto new comer and crowd favorite, Uriel ‘El Guapo Flaco’ mendoza was next. Beginning a night of reveals, he shed his rocker t for a dress and jammed out to Green Day’s King for a Day. His hair, his smile, his theme was all on point. Judges scores: 5.5, 5.6, 5.4. We hope to see more of El Guapo.
Then it was time for our Red Deer representative to take the stage. Cat Friday is a long time favourite and die hard member of the Air Guitar Family. As you may know… Cat Friday welds the Air Guitar Canada trophy every year. To start his performance, he drafted a missive for the crowd that Nordic read aloud before the performance. Then he was off. He set off a confetti canon. He played the Air Guitar in no fewer than 8 different ways and positions… his performance was packed! Judges love him: 5.8, 5.8, 5.8. Hard to criticize those scores.
Our Sherbrooke Quebec Champion: Carolyne ‘Janine Suture’ Mongeau. Old lady turned leather goddess. She shredded it to Heart’s Barracuda. She also removed items of clothing to show off her inner rock star. Our judges scored her: 5.5, 5.5, 5.6. La Belle Province was well represented.
It was time for the Toronto Champion, Dana-Saurus Rex. She delivered an electric valedictorian address. You know how this turned out. Judges scores: 6.0, 5.8, 5.8.
Our Midland Penetanguishene representative Bryan ‘Dr. Rockstar Genius’ Pittz came dressed like an actual ‘saurus’ of some kind. He was red. He was rad. He hit the stage to Andrew WK’s I Get Wet. The judges were moist enough to give him: 5.5, 5.6, 5.6.
Our Toronto Vice Champion – Arty the Circus Drummer revived his ground breaking balance board performance from the Toronto championships and again wowed the Judges. He scored: 5.9, 5.9, 5.9. Arty ended the first round in the lead by .1
Don’t call it a come back, but Blake Johnston – The Canadian Tuxedo proved that his first trip to Finland was no fluke. Chugging syrup and regurgitating his guitar for GnR’s Welcome to the Jungle scored him the top score of the night and tied with Arty for the lead after the first round. Judges Scores: 5.9, 6.0, 5.8.
Our BC champ was next… Air Head Arron from Kamloops, BC. Choosing a Led Zeppelin track, Communication Break Down. Judges liked it: 5.8, 5.8, 5.8.
Jacob ‘Von Stäche’ Hogan was next. He had the Von Stache crew. He had the tear away shorts. He had the Stache. One of the most energetic performers of the night with a bright future in Air Guitar, the judges showed him much love with scores: 5.9, 5.9, 5.8.
Next up was Sterling Stu Nulman. Our Montreal champion was all class and all guitar. He rocked it righteously and earned great scores from the judges: 5.6, 5.7, 5.8.
OTTAWA CHAMP! After two years of appearing at Nationals as a Dark Horse, The Space Mime Continuum earned the top spot in Ottawa and propelled himself directly into the final. His edit of whatever song it was that he did was unreal. We all have a lot to learn from the Space Mime. Judges dug it too: 5.7, 5.8, 5.7.
The Saskatoon Champ! Air Guitar Saskatchewan is flying high and Major Party continues to lead the army of Central Canada. He marched through the audience and delivered his address, earning the chants of Major Party! He rocked hard and Judges rewarded him with: 5.7, 5.7, 5.8. Not too shabby.
To close the first round was our reigning Canadian Champ – The Phoenix. Gen Leblanc stunned the crowd with yet another insane and visually striking persona. As you can see from the photos… she was radiant and as you can see from the scores, she was brilliant at Air Guitar as well. She defended the title with first round scores of: 5.9, 5.9, 5.8.
Taking a break to tally the scores… we returned with the verdict that we would limit our final round to 5 performers in the interest of time. After vigorous donating and Ballot Boosting, Killing in the Name by Rage Against The Machine was chosen as the audience choice for the Compulsory Round. All performers had to rock out to this track in hopes of bridging the .1 difference in scores from 5th place to 1st. The order of performers was determined by the judges as follows:
Von Stache with 17.6
Phoenix with 17.6
Dana-Saurus with 17.6
Arty The Circus Drummer with 17.7
The Canadian Tuxedo with 17.7
First up was Jacob Hogan. The Von Stache crew was on hand again to lift him up and give him the boost he needed to deliver another insanely jet powered thrashing of the stage. Von Stache is like a nuclear bomb. Boom goes the dynamite!
The Phoenix donned her wings and soared like a mythical wonder. Her grace and style was unrivalled.
Dana-Saurus came out with Marilyn Manson’s make-up and unleashed the demons inside her as she threw herself around the stage with such ferocity that the velociraptors of the yesteryears would have stood and took notice of the carnage that was being delivered.
In case things couldn’t get any weirder. Shit got weird. Arty, in true circus drummer fashion, threw on some stilts to elevate his performance. It was epic.
Blake was next. More syrup. A flag. A hockey stick with a beaver at the top. All stops were put out. He was glorious.
After the compulsory round, the judges determined that there was a tie between Dana-Saurus and Canadian Tuxedo. For the second time in Air Guitar Canada history, we were forced to go to an Air Off. The second most voted on audience choice track was chosen – Dana and Blake would do their final duel to Metallica’s ONE.
The performances were intense. The two titans clashed and emerging from the fray with a single point difference was Dana-Saurus Rex. Our 2018 Air Guitar Canada champion!
Stay tuned for updates on the entire Air Guitar Canada crew travelling to Finland this year! There is a team of 5 aiming to enter the competition and bring home Canada’s first Air Guitar World Championship title!