They Play Air Guitar Better Than You: Watch Nordic Thunder’s World Championship Performance

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Last Friday, in the ancient—well, 17-year-old—traditional contest of wills, might and power-chord miming that is the Air Guitar World Championships, American Justin “Nordic Thunder” Howard rocked his way to glory. The champion beat out 11 other would-be guitar gods in the final round of the annual event, held in Oulu, Northern Finland, but had to rise above many others to make it that far. The contest features both national champions from around the world and “dark horses” who can compete for a spot the day before the finals. With only one minute to prove themselves, they thrash with all their mights; Nordic Thunder himself emerged from the dark-horse round, so it can be done.

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Although Justin Howard hails from Chicago when he is not rocking Scandinavia, his Viking-inspired get-up came complete with a fringed leather loin-cloth and a wild mane that perfectly accented his head-banging technique. He sustained some injuries during his performances, mostly due to knee-sliding, but he told his fans via Facebook that the medics bandaged him up: “I must now nurse my wounds and try to get some sleep…” he wrote. “I hope now to do each of you proud as OUR world champion.” According to the Air Guitar World Championships governing body, the announcement of Nordic Thunder’s victory was followed by the traditional air-guitar rendition of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” because:

The purpose of the Air Guitar Championships in to promote world peace – according to Air Guitar ideology, wars will end, climate change stops and all bad things disappear if all the people in the world play the Air Guitar.

A full list of competitors and their scores can be found here. For those curious about the world of air guitar, we recommend the book To Air is Human by, of course, Bjorn Turoque.