Here’s the night that was the 2015 Canadian Air Guitar Championships
July 25th, 2015 – THE MOD CLUB, Toronto. We had 8 pre-qualified performers, including 5 regional champions from Alberta, Kingston, Ottawa Toronto and Montreal. 13 Dark Horse competitors battled for the remaining 5 spots in the championships. Over 30 Air Guitar performances and over 250 people in attendance, this year’s Air Guitar Championships was an explosion of brand new amazing performers and screaming fans. And as far as ‘Air Guitar for Good’ is concerned: It looks like we’ll get to contribute just over $3500 to our charity, Right To Play. A nice little jump over last year’s donation of $2500.
Let’s take a look at the night through the lens of Culture Snap’s Henry VanderSpek’s camera. Enjoy and be sure to join us again for the 2016 Air Guitar season as we continue to raise joy for our friends, raise funds for our charity, and send amazing competitors to the world championships.
It all started with a show from Alberta’s Banger Bingo to warm up or moisten the crowd…
Ou Host Matty Burns took to the slightly slippery stage and officially kicked off the competition with a group Aireoke number to assorted Canadian rock hits. Joining host Matty Burns: AGC VP Paul ‘PK’ Kingston, judge Joan Smith, judge Kris Bruun, AGC VP Mike ‘House of’ Payne and Tim ‘Glen Airy Glen Rocks’ Evans.
Then we started the Dark Horse competition for the last 5 spots in the Championships. The pool of competitors was deep and the talent level was nothing like we’d ever seen on the Canadian Air Guitar scene.
New comer Jesse ‘Da Loverboy’ Herron went first and amazed the crowd with his Michael Jackson ‘Beat It’ routine, complete with guitar solo and moonwalk.
Katie ‘Bettie Bruiser’ Mactavish rocked it right to Heart’s ‘Crazy on You’ – those tights were a find.
Steve ‘Rebel Yell’ Verzyden was a first time competitor to Air Guitar, but no novice to competitive sport. He’s the captain of the Aussie Rules Football squad The Rebels. Catch their next game on RogersTV. He rocked out to Gaslight Anthem.
Mark ‘Whiskey Pockets’ Slater was a new participant at the Toronto Championships. He showed that persistence pays off. He entered again as a Dark Horse for the Nationals and made it through to the Championship Round for a chance at the title.
Mr. Bob – the eldest active Ari Guitarist in history, totally took his game up a notch and went from Dark Horse to Championship round with a hip gyrating, Elvis track – Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.
Previously known as ‘The Playa’, BJ Jeroy underwent a transformation to become ‘THE PRAYA’ and to the audible boos of the audience totally killed a CREED song – ‘With Arms Wide Open’. By the end – the audience asked for forgiveness.
Morgan ‘SPITS’ Joy provided us with the most artistic and lauded performances of the night – using part puppet she rocked out to ‘Barracuda’ by Heart. She impressed enough to get the highest scores in the Dark Horse round and enter the Championship round.
After the Dark Horse round – SPITS, DAZ, Da Loverboy, Mr. Bob, and Whiskey Pockets scored the highest and made their way into the Championships Round. The scores from this round will be combined with scores from the Compulsory Round to find the winner of the competition.
This is when shit got a little crazy and the vibe went from all happy and friendly and got a little serious. It’s Air Guitar, people… but we appreciate your commitment to the craft. What was to transpire next was some of the most intense Air Guitar that Canada has ever witnessed. Hold on to your socks.
First up again was Da Loverboy. He had totally transformed, new outfit and new moves. He kicked to off with a front flip that missed slightly, but that didn’t stop him for doing a handstand and moving like a man possessed. He knew he needed to set the bar high to assure himself a spot in the Compulsory round. He was rewarded with exceptional scores and would move on.
Then came Toronto’s 2nd place finisher David ‘Kit AIR-ington’ Finkelstein who needs to be credited with never breaking character on stage… not once. It was pretty impressive how he involved the story of Jon Snow into his performance complete with Air Guitar swipes and thrusts as if wielding a sword. He was rewarded with solid 5.8s across the table. He was one of top performers of the night and made it to the Compulsory Round.
Next up… our Montreal champ – Helene ‘HEY!len’ Laurin. She re-interpreted Motley Crue’s ‘Dr. Feelgood’ in a medical gown and then later revealed a kick-ass rock-modified nurse’s outfit. Her creativity and presentation earned her some top scores and landed her a spot in the Compulsory Round.
Ottawa’s champ – Jason ‘Thrust’ McNeely was another bold performancer as he walked on stage with a real guitar. And after shaking his head, he takes it and SMASHES to splinters all over the stage and the audience. He then resurrects another guitar (from air, of course) and rolls through a high-energy beer fuelled song by Aussie rockers Airbourne. He grabs a beer at a drum section of the song and then, to the beat, SMASHES the beer to his head, which explodes and showers the audience and himself with beer. It was pretty insane. He got 5.8s, 5.9s and a 6.0.
Ari ‘Red Thor’ Hunter then leapt into action. And to his defence, we should have waited for the beer from THRUST to be adequately cleaned up. The stage surface was still somewhat damp and ended up causing the normally lofty Red Thor to have to tread more carefully. He still managed great scores but didn’t place in the Compulsory Round. As all good Vikings await their Valhalla, we’ll have to bid our adieu to Red Thor, at least until we convince him otherwise, since he’ll be stepping down from Air Guitar competition next year. Red Thor is a fan favourite and will be truly missed. We thank him.
Michael ‘Von Poutine’ Daniels – originally from Indiana, now a permanent resident in Canada, a veteran of the US Air Guitar circuit, received some of the best scores for his performance and moved on to the Compulsory Round.
Then Morgan ‘SPITS’ Joy came on and totally sent everyone for a whirl. An ‘Airtiste’ of sorts, Morgan totally floored the crowd with her bouffant act that was both inspiring and a little too far off the Air Guitar mark for some of the judges. We’re hoping she comes back to us next year to keep elevating the field of performance.
Danielle ‘Dora The Destroyer’ D’entremont – our Kingston champ. She was a ball of frenetic energy quite possibly fuelled by stars or some trick from her back-pack, can you say ‘back pack’?. She had THE most aggressive track of the night and showed the crowd just how to truly commit to a song. She was a total cheer-leader and booster for all competitors that night.
Leslie ‘MC JOY’ Seiler another Toronto Championships qualifier who started her journey as a Brave Soul a month earlier. She bedazzled her foot cast and totally rocked ‘Walk This Way’ by Aerosmith. Hilarious and huge originality scores.
After all the scores came in, our finalists for the Compulsory Round were: Da Loverboy, THRUST, Von Poutine, Kit AIR-ington, HEY!len, and Hanzel the Manzel. The audience, via ballot, choose Loverboy’s ‘Working for the Weekend’ for our Canadian Content compulsory song.
Then came Carlos ‘Hanzel the Manzel’ Mengual, who thrilled the judges with his home-made wrist mounted fireball shooter. he got the highest scores of the competitors up so far, but would it be enough?
Jesse ‘Da Loverboy’ Herron had to pull out an amazing performance to come close. And so he too took to the audience and struck a pose at the Judges table while too of his friends showered him in beer – what our host Matty Burns called ‘A Steam-Whistle Bukkake’… classy.
After all the insanity, THRUST won by a narrow margin over Hanzel the Manzel. 0.1 points separated the two. Jason ‘THRUST’ McNeely was victorious and will be representing Canada at the 20th year of Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, Finland.
Huge thanks to our sponsors, Steam Whistle Brewery, Panago Pizza, Banger Bingo, Eatertainment, Hogtown Pub and Oysters, Second City and Second City Training Centre, and RightSleeve for our t-shirts.
Panago Pizza increased their donation the week of the championships and added an extra $1000 to the cause. Talk about #randomactsofpizza.
Special thanks go to our volunteers: Ben Birchard, Summer Skilleter, Rebecca Sutherland.
To our Host and Judges: Matty Burns, Adam from 102.1 The Edge, Kat Curtis of Naked News, Joan Smith of Little Foot Long Foot, Suresh John of Mr. D, and finally Kirs Bruun from Orphan Black.
To our competitors: You all put on an amazing show. Come back next year and do it again.
To our Executive: Cat Friday, Amy Blackmore, Cole ‘Johnny Utah’ Manson, Paul PK Kingston and Michael Payne – let’s start planning 2016!
Thanks to the Mod Club for hosting us
Stay tuned for how THRUST fares in Finland!
They came, they saw, they are coming back for more.
We’ve announced all our new male judges, and now we have the pleasure of welcoming back Joan Smith from Little Foot Long Foot and Kat Curtis from the Naked News to help us choose the 2015 Canadian Air Guitar Champion!
Both Kat and Joan were part of our panel at the Toronto Championships. They applied just the right amount of critical review and cunning wit to their judging and commentary and now they are back to do it all over again.
Joan Smith is the scorching hot lead singer and guitarist of rock out fit Little Foot Long Foot. She knows a thing or two about the Heavy needed to rock a crowd and how to impress the Woman. She’ll be representing the portion of our panel that actually understands how a guitar works and what one might look like if they were actually playing said guitar.
Kat Curtis is a co-producer and part of the talented team at The Naked News. She is a self-admitted ‘Nerd’, and proves that really hot girls sometimes, however rarely, play RPG games and discuss the altruistic merits of the Lawful Evil alignment in D&D. That’s right. She is an expert on cosplay, lingerie, and being sassy and smart. Don’t drink her damn beer if you want to get top scores.
See you at the MOD CLUB on Sat, July 25th for the 2015 Canadian Air Guitar Championships.
TICKETS ($15 in advance up to 12midnight on Friday)
REGISTER (Be a Dark Horse and go from zero to hero – register by Friday midnight)
Probably the funniest guy we know, he agreed to judge, now we’re a little worried.
Suresh John. This picture on the left is 100% accurate of his charm and elegance. For those in the ‘know’ he’s a talented son of a gun. For all of you about to witness Suresh John for the first time… you can thank us later. He’ll be joining Kris Bruun from Orphan Black and Adam Ricard from the Edge 102.1 to round out our sausage party section of the judges panel.
We asked Suresh what he thought about Air Guitar and he had this to say: “Air Guitar is the fastest growing segment of competitive air instrument population” Hard to argue his analysis of Air Instrument statistics. Truesay is truesay, so they truesay.
We also asked him what he’s looking for in a champ. He said: ‘Grit’. Just Google it.
Suresh is famous for many things. But most notably: Shoot’em Up (2007) Bullet Proof Monk (2003) and CBC’s hit teacher comedy Mr. D (2012). In all of these he plays either cab drivers or custodians.
When I googled him I also found this awesome picture. Also a Suresh… but not a John.
or better yet – BECOME A DARK HORSE COMPETITOR (Just means you are coming into this last minute)
Edge 102.1 Mid-Day DJ Dude Adam Ricard Joins Our Celebrity Judging Panel
We are thrilled to have Adam Ricard from CFNY’s Edge 102.1 Mid-Day program join us on our celebrity panel of judges for the Air Guitar Canada National Championships on July 25th at the Mod Club in Toronto.
Not only does Adam bring an insane knowledge of music and rock-show to the judging mix, but he’s also got to be one of the most down-to-earth friendly guys we’ve ever met. We’re excited to have his expertise on the panel and can’t wait to see which performer he gives the perfect 6.0s to. Your Air Guitars best be tuned to the ‘Key’ of Foos (his favourite band) and the volume turned up to 11 (his radio dial demands it).
We asked Adam what he’s looking for in our 2015 Canadian Champion. His response: “Truculence. That undefinable Canadianness that makes one want to drink maple syrup straight from the tree”
We’re pumped. You be pumped too.
GET YOUR DAMN TICKETS before you have to pay more at the door – which is fine.
ENTER TO COMPETE – we still have room for a few more. It’s fun. Trust us.
Doing Good and Winning Sweet Prizes: FINLAND, Steam Whistle and Motley Crue
Have you bought your tickets yet to the Championships on July 25th at the Mod Club?
Air Guitar is about world peace: The mantra – When you are holding an Air Guitar, you can’t be holding a gun.
We donate the net proceeds of our Canadian Air Guitar events to a children’s charity called Right to Play. They help children all over the world (1 million kids each week!) through sport and play programmes that are geared towards alleviating the horrors of war, disease, poverty and famine. They help children rediscover their youth, to gain confidence, to solve problems all through the power of sport and play. We raised $2500 last year for Right to Play. Our goal is to double that this year for a total donation of $5000.
Our competitors are our life blood. Without their bravery and freakin’ entertaining performances, we don’t have much. They bring out their friends who buy tickets, who drink beer. We thank these friends who cheer for their favourite performers to encourage and lift them up as these Air Guitarists do what very few do, but all of us should do (at least once a year): Rock out for World Peace.
So to thank our competitors, and to encourage others to get on board and bring out their friends to support the cause we’ve got a pretty nifty bunch of prizes for our top finishers – huge thanks to our sponsors for making this possible:
GRAND PRIZE: 2015 Canadian Air Guitar Champ! Free trip to Oulu Finland as Canada’s representative. Hotel stay in Oulu for 2 nights. Air Guitar Canada Trophy. Unlimited bragging rights and a certain degree of infamy (It’s ‘Priceless’… really).
5th PLACE: $100 in Hogtown Pub and Oyster Gift Certificates (seriously awesome nachos)
BONUS – Other top competitors will receive Second City Gift Packs ($45 each) and Second City Training Centre vouchers.
So whatcha waiting for… volunt-‘air’ yourself for a good time.
This Year We’ve Got a Special Can-Con Edition For You!
In celebration of the Pan Am Games and all things Canadian such as bacon and Bryan Adams, we’ve created a pretty wild event of Air Guitar with the extra special focus on Canadian content. This means that the song for our second round of Air Guitar performances (the improvised round that is chosen by the audience) will come from a list of classic, popular and righteous rocking Canadian musicians and bands. Rush? The Hip? April Wine? Sam Roberts? Billy Talent? Sum 41? Nickelback?…it’s possible. YOU CHOOSE!
So come celebrate your Canadian Rock and join in on the fun that is Air Guitar! Our winner will represent Canada at the 20th year of Air Guitar World Championships in Oulu, Finland – the home of AIr Guitar.
Remember – Air Guitar is all about World Peace. ‘When you are holding an Air Guitar, you can’t be holding a gun’ – Ancient Air Guitar Proverb. We run our events to send a champ, and raise money for our charity Right to Play Canada – Helping children facing adversity world-wide through the power of sport and play. And in this situation… Air Guitar.
REGISTER TO COMPETE (10 spots left)
Michael ‘Von Poutine’ Daniels is the 2015 Alberta Air Guitar Champion
Guest Post by: Tyler ‘Cat Friday’ Gardner
For the first time ever an official Alberta Air Guitar champion has been crowned. What started out to be a crazy mix up with 2 events being booked for the same night ended up having awesome results when the crowed size doubled, and instead of one awesome band closing the night, we had 3! Most people showed up to Lord Nelson’s Pub to catch a CD release party from a local band and they got so much more. Confused excitement could be used to describe the crowd as Banger Bingo took the stage to open up for the Air Guitar shred-fest that was to follow.
The main event opened with judge and professional street dancer Spandy Andy accepting a challenge from former Alberta Champion Cat Friday to an Air Guitar /dance off. They strummed, thrusted and wailed their way into the hearts and minds of the crowd. In an epic battle like this – it was fair to say that everyone wins!
And then came the Air Guitar competitors. The licks were tight, the competition was fierce, and when the dust settled one man stood alone as champion… That man is none other than Michael “Von Poutine” Daniels. Von Poutine will now travel to the land of Canadian Air Guitar, Toronto, to face of against the best of the best this great country has to offer.
Here’s a recap of the competitors – First up was Liz “Rock-asaurus Rex” who rocked out to Halestorm’s Daughter of Darkness. Like the song says “a little evil goes a long, long way”, and she proves it!
Next up was Joel “Hand Solo” Zak who ripped the Scorpions classic metal anthem No One Like You. Fitting, cause there is literally no one like Hand Solo. Joel was all over the place showing the judges some of his signature Zak Attack style. The Force is strong in this one!
Then, Out of no where, comes Amanda Marie Bourdon. Or as we now know her …..THE CAMANDANATOR!!! She blasted her way through Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me”. If you hooked Amanda up to a set of cables she could power a small hamlet with the energy she gives of during an Air Guitar performance. She even pulled of the rarely seen running man power move! Her super charged rock display was awesome enough to net her a second place finish!
Last on stage the newly Canadian-ized Michael “Von Poutine” Daniels, who actually prepared for his championship performance by indulging in the bars signature Poutine Deluxe, which I’m assuming is to him what spinach is to pop-eye or sadness is to Batman, because when Von Poutine hit the stage level 3 transcendence was achieved!
Michael left no doubt in the minds of the judges and audience that history was being made as he took the metal cover of Journey’s “Don’t stop believing” and made it his own.
In the compulsory round all of the competitors rocked out to the same mystery song which was revealed to be Iron Maiden “Run to the Hills”. One by one each of the Air Guitar heros left it all on the stage. And despite a near come from behind last ditch effort from the Camandanator it was just shy. Von Poutine sealed the deal exploding out of his dark cloak revealing a Canadian flag cape. His awkward movements and high flying Air Guitar attacks were ultimately enough to clinch him the victory, the trophy, and the title of Alberta Air Guitar Champion. He now flies to Toronto to face off against the best in the country.
Huge thanks to our main sponsors Steam Whistle Pilsner, Banger Bingo, our Judges: Peter Michael’s, Scoot Laird, and Spandy Andy and everyone else involved in this crazy night!!
See you next at the Nationals on July 25th in Toronto at the MOD CLUB!
Get your tickets HERE
Become a DARK HORSE COMPETITOR
SAT. JULY 11TH – LORD NELSON’S PUB – DOORS 7PM
The time has come. Alberta is set to have it’s first official Provincial Air Guitar Championships. Tyler ‘Cat Friday’ Gardner (2014 Alberta Champ) and Marcus ‘Shaner the Shane Saw’ Iannattone (Banger Bingo) have got a show ready for the people of Calgary. Doors open at 7pm so you can get your food and your drink on. Banger Bingo will run a warm-up round of Rock and Roll Bingo while the Air Guitarists (including Edmonton Champ -Michael Von Poutine) assemble and limber up for the big show.
Oh- and you can still register to compete until 12midnight July 10th. Or Just show up in Calgary at Lord Nelson’s with your 1-min of music – your choice.
We’re thrilled to welcome our ‘celebrity judges’ who will make the hard decisions Saturday night, using the figure skating scoring system of 4.0-6.0 – they will assess the performers on Stage Charisma; Artistic Impression; Ability to be taken over by the music; Technical Skill; Originality and lastly… Airness. Here are your judges for Air Guitar Alberta Provincial Championships:
Spandy Andy: An Alberta boy himself, Spandy now finds his home wherever the dance floor is. A mission to encourage, inspire and excite those around him has brought him to where he is today. His zany personality and quirky dance moves pump up the crowd in all situations. Spandy is recognized internationally as a world class entertainer. From performing on the street, to hosting major festivals and producing hilarious online content, Spandy will perpetually leave his audience grinning from ear to ear! WARNING: this guy’s smile is infectious! Here’s our favorite of his dance vids
Peter Michaels: He has been described as “average” as well as “drab & business like”. He rocks the Dad Bod & sometimes falls asleep in the middle of a conversation. You know you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel when he’s your idea of having a “celebrity” at your event. It can’t really be that bad…can it?! Find out the answer to that soon! He is Peter Michaels, program director & midday host at 106.7 THE DRIVE in Red Deer Alberta! And this bio was written by his mom!
Scoot Laird: No, that’s not typo, his name really is SCOOT. Don’t be fooled by everything he says or does, Scoot Laird is a really happy guy. Scoot’s witty and relatable comedy has been a delight for audiences wherever he goes; whether it be performing sketch comedy at the prestigious Toronto SketchFest, showcasing his standup for the Winnipeg Comedy Festival or any of the numerous comedy clubs and bars all across the vast Canadian landscape where he hones his craft. Recently, Scoot won the coveted Chase Your Butterfly contest, for Calgary’s best new comedian. If you don’t remember him by his name, you’ll certainly remember him by his performance.
He’s no impersonator. in his own words – He just dreamed of being on stage with Elvis.
He glows with the sheer love of music and the desire to whirl like a dervish to the lead guitar. We know Elvis was the ultimate show man. Mr. Bob is no different. He cuts like a knife; this man is so sharp. Mr. Bob is set to return to the stage for his second chance at Air Guitar supremacy. Although we know that it’s not so much the winning that drives Bob. It’s the chance to have fun and be alive and rocking on stage that keeps bringing him back.
A former scuba Instructor and yester-year Jack Kerouac – Mr. Bob is one of Air Guitar Canada’s most cherished men. He’s been a great spokesperson for our charity Right To Play and his commitment and involvement in the fundraising has been inspiring.
Look for Mr. Bob to continue to make history as the ‘Oldest and Most Awesome Active Air Guitarist’ in the world on July 25th at the Canadian National Championships in Toronto at the Mod Club. He’ll be performing in the Dark Horse round. Last year he did the same thing and made it all the way to the finals! He is an Air Guitar machine, especially when they play The King.
Here’s a sweet picture of Bob we’re using around town to celebrate this cool dude and get you all out to see him.
Let’s cheer on Mr. Bob on the 25th.
TAKE ON BOB – ENTER TO COMPETE[wpvideo hIcjsaH2]