Nordic Thunder - photo by Miriam Doan

The US Air Guitar Championships return to San Francisco this weekend, with the annual competition’s Western Semifinals happening this Saturday, August 3rd at The Independent. It might be silly, but there are serious stakes too, as three winners from this weekend’s semifinal will advance to the national finals in Los Angeles.

Here’s a little more about this weekend’s competitors:

At the Western Semifinals, San Francisco will see the best air guitarists from the Northwest to Southern California and then over to Arizona. Watch out for Portland’s brand of caliente in TONY TAPATIO, LA’s version of American patriot SIX STRING GENERAL, San Diego’s newly-made-over, freshly streamlined LIEUTENANT FACEMELTER, and Tucson’s VLAD D.M. WAILER (all of which are past Regional Champions in their respective cities). But the visitors will have to bring their A-Game in if they want to knock out the local talent, as the Bay Area’s brand of air guitar is like no other. Leading the local charge will be San Francisco’s 3-time champ COLD STEEL RENEGADE, reigning champ SETH LEIBOWITZ, and the Santa Cruz king DIRTY AIRY.

To win a pair of tickets to the show, email contest

[at] with “Air Guitar Championships” in the email subject line and your full name and email address in the body of the email. A winner will be chosen at random and notified by email.