Maria Isa
Photo by Carlos Gonzalez
Maria Isa

Voltage has become the one night of the year local bands can dress up and put on a show without worrying about getting put down for it. What could be a showpiece for poseur-ish or overly hip acts is actually a diverse roster of noteworthy young local talent. The '09 lineup includes hip-hop/reggaeton princess Maria Isa, folksy pickers Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles, rockers First Communion Afterparty and Gospel Gossip and Mercurial Rage.

Voltage band director Charles Gehr and co-founder David de Young say they look for musical value first and only rarely take into account a band's fashion consciousness.

"One thing I've learned about the fashion scene from this show is it has as much diversity as the music scene does," de Young says. "It's not a New York swanky-dress type of fashion crowd, so it's a good fit all-around."

Without revealing too much, among things to look for this year are outfits based around the members of First Communion Afterparty playing characters from a certain board-game that's about to be made into a movie for the second time. "It will also be interesting to step outside our 'style box,'" said FCAP co-leader Liam Watkins.

Lucy Michelle also sounded excited about Friday's show, even though -- unlike Watkins -- she and her bandmates have never been anywhere near a runway before.

"We are not models -- we knew that before, but now we really know," she said. "How strange to get all dolled up. We will probably never be so coordinated ever again."

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