Air Guitarists Rock HOB

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The always-entertaining regional US Air Guitar competition came to town last night at House of Blues' Cambridge Room. Pre-registration was slow (only four contestants signed up), but the contest heated up as promoters recruited a group of “wild cards” to round out the bill and bring the total number of contestants to 13. They didn’t disappoint.

Retired competitor Bjorn Turoque was the amiable host, and a panel of judges included local hardcore hero Tony Erba, reigning international champ Hot Lixx Hulahan and me. Erba donned a Mexican wrestling mask and hurled one sarcastic comment after another at the contestants: “You look like Jermaine Jackson on AIDS,” he told one guy. (You can be on AIDS? —ed) “You could be the love child of Mikhail Baryshnikov and McCauley Culkin,” he told another.

The first round, where contestants air shredded to a song of their choice was a typical mixed bag. On one hand, there was R. Gyle, a dude in an argyle sweater who swung his arms like a gorilla and had as much poise as Napoleon Dynamite. But then there's Beezelboob, a chick with a gymnast’s body who wore a pair of red devil horns and strutted her stuff like nobody’s business.

The top five contestants from the first round advanced to the second, where it was obvious that last year’s winner, Derek Not-So-Smalls, and M.O.D., a flamboyant dude whose look was equal parts Lenny Kravitz and Jimi Hendrix, were the shoo-ins. M.O.D. scored high points for ripping his shirt off midway through his performance, but Derek Not-So-Smalls (probably because he can flick his fingers and produce sparks of fire) won.

All of the contestants and a few random fans gathered onstage for the finale — an air jam to “Free Bird” that concluded another boisterous, helluva-good-time air guitar competition. —Jeff Niesel

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