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Voltage: Fashion Amplified tonight at First Avenue

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At this very moment, dozens of custodians are painstakingly grooming a catwalk runway constructed just for the night. Designers are lint rolling countless suede jackets. Local guitarists are just starting to break in a clammy sweat and triple checking their hard case for that extra set of strings they bought just for the occasion.

The dyed in the wool scenesters accustomed to seeing Gospel Gossip at the Turf Club may find the pageantry a bit alienating. But Voltage: Fashion Amplified, which goes on to tonight at First Avenue, has proven to be a blockbuster success-- an evening that train wrecks the often alienated worlds of music and fashion, and gives local musicians the chance to perform to a capacity Main Room crowd, something virtually no one ever gets the chance to do.

White Light Riot performing at last year's Voltage Fashion extravaganza.

The bill this year is as eclectic as ever, which is to say that the band selection is carefully curated so that the crowd (who, judging by previous performances, are there more for the scenery than the sonics) will be surprised, but not so much that they'll drop their cosmopolitans and head for the doors to have a smoke.

Take Gospel Gossip. They're no stranger to the Main Room stage, and should command it like a gang of old salts. And, conceivably, one could see a row of skin and bone fashionistas strutting the cat walk to songs off of Sing Into My Mouth, their debut full length. Maria Isa will surely keep the models slinking and sturtting their way from the catwalk to the green room, and Mercurial Rage, with their wry, Duran Duran-influenced synth pop, seems as though they've been waiting for just this sort of show for their entire lives.

The big question? How will 60s revivalists First Communion Afterparty and ukulelist Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles do as the soundtracks to a fashion show? Every year seems to include at least one band that flatly defies the models to keep one foot going in front of the other. Last year it was the raucous post-punk duo Birthday Suits, and this year it's poised to be FCAP and LMVL. They're Picked to Click. We love them. You love them. Your turntable loves them. Will the fashion set love it? Will the models be able to walk to the slow beat drenched with reverb? These questions alone are worth the rather stiff admission charge.

Anyway, viva Voltage. It's the culmination of weeks and weeks of work from scores and scores of people. These are the fruits of sleepless nights spent over the amp and the sewing machine.

(P.S. : Click here for a Q&A with Voltage's creator, Anna Lee.)

21+. 8:00 P.M. $25.00 advance/ $30.00 door. With Maira Isa, Lucy Michelle and the Velvet Lapelles, Gospel Gossip, First Communion Afterparty, Mercurial Rage. First Avenue Main Room, 701 First Avenue North, Minneapolis; 612.338.8388.