Air Guitar Nation

Air Guitar Nation

DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Jeff Robson

Read Keith Hennessey Brown's film review of Air Guitar Nation

The DVD has no information on aspect ratios etc, but let’s face it this isn’t exactly Lawrence Of Arabia. The picture and sound quality are transferred solidly enough.

No, what you want from an indie gem like this are extras, and while this is a slightly disappointing package, what there is certainly gives the film an extra dimension.

Copy picture

The featurette, Out For The Count, follows the preparations for the 2007 UK Air Guitar Championships through the eyes of contestant Count Rockula. This confirmed my view that the Brits, with a couple of exceptions, don’t view air guitar as quite the combination of Zen discipline, extreme sport and performance art as their US and European counterparts. But the Count is an engaging guide through the process of selecting your tunes, your costume and, of course, your ‘axe’; the scene where he wanders through a very high-end Denmark Street guitar shop, selects several thousand pounds worth of kit as his virtual instrument, puts it back then walks out again, is worth your £15 quid alone.

It also includes some backstage chat with a couple of familiar faces from the main film – Zac Monro and David Crane, aka Bjorn Turoque. The rivalry between Bjorn (the Iggy Pop-ish, intense, ‘purist’) and C-Diddy (the flamboyant showman) has clearly remained as refreshingly undiluted as any in the real rock world.

The theme of art vs entertainment is also extensively discussed in the audio commentary by Monro and Crane. This is essentially like having a couple of very articulate best mates watching the DVD with you, all the while getting very, very, drunk. Both strike just the right balance between irony and sincerity, with Monro (an engaging Brit and two-time former world champ) particularly good at keeping half an eye on how strange the outside world must regard all this, while being passionate about all things air. He’s also very dismissive of the credentials and commitment of some other practitioners of the imaginary axe (one prominent character from the film gets dissed in no uncertain terms). Add a few good jokes, an account of partying with the seriously debauched lead singer of Hanoi Rocks and a lot of hazy digressions and you’ve got a fitting accompaniment to a post-pub classic.

A commentary from the directors/producers, or a bit more behind the scenes stuff on how they got such unguarded footage of a scene that comes across as somewhat suspicious of non-believers, would have been fun. As would a ‘name and shame’ of the killjoys who refused to allow their music to be used on the soundtrack. I think Bjorn, C-Diddy and Zac would join me in saying that that’s not very rock n’ roll, dudes.

Reviewed on: 04 Mar 2008
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Air Guitar Nation packshot
A documentary about the air guitar craze in America.
Amazon link

Product Code: CTD51194

Region: 2

Ratio: 16:9

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Out For The Count, commentary

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