I must admit, as weird as this sounds, I love a man who can play a good invisible instrument. When Mike serenaded Phoebe on Friends with his air piano in Central Perk, I swooned. Now, there's a whole competition here in Vegas just for these performers to showoff their craft and for people like me to drool over them.
This month marks the beginning of a set of monthly competitions to find the Hendrix of air guitar here in Las Vegas. This is all thanks to Resodence, who has created the Las Vegas Air Guitar Association, which is linked to the U.S. Air Guitar Championship (yes, that does exist).
You may be sitting there, thinking to yourself that if you really wanted to, it'd be easy for you to just show up to one of these competitions without practicing and take home the prize. But air guitar is not as easy as it sounds. There are many rules.
The first rule of air guitar: Do not use an actual guitar.
The second rule of air guitar: Do not use an actual guitar!
(Brad Pitt really has ruined all rule listings for everyone since Fight Club.)
But in all seriousness now, once you get passed those first two rules there are many other aspects that contestants will be judged on.The winner will be chosen based on how well they do in three categories.
First, there is technical merit. Yes, there is skill involved in air guitar playing. The closer your fretwork resembles actual guitar-playing, the higher the score. And don't forget to match the music. I mean, how embarrassing would it be if you got on stage and started miming "All Out of Love" when "Love is A Battlefield" was playing! Talk about a moment you'd like to forget.
The second category is stage presence, which is just another way that air guitar is similar to what many deem the "more respectable" real guitar playing. But really though, would any of us know who Slash was without his awesome stage presence? Or would he be just like the guitarist of The Killers, what's-his-name-or-whatever?
The last category is both the strangest and the most important: "airness," which is explained as "how much the performance was an object of art itself, not just a simulation of playing guitar."
Chris Lose of the LVAGA compares this last facet to figure skating, and as much as I am an air guitar fan, I am one-hundred times more a fan of figure skater Johnny Weir who, as he loves to state, is "more of an artist than an athlete." If Johnny can be going to the Olympics again this year off the driving force of his "presentation", then why can't these air guitarists live off the similar motto of being "more of an artist than a musical artist"?
Each competitor will have one minute to wow the panel with their shredding and overall "airness" to move on to the next round. There will also be hundreds of dollars in prizes for all the air-Claptons to vie for.
The monthly contests will continue until Memorial Weekend when Diablo's Cantina will host the U.S. Air Guitar Regional Championships. Then the winner will be flown to New York where they'll compete in Nationals. The winner of Nationals will then have the opportunity to fly to Finland and compete for the ability to call themself the world's best air guitarist.