Modesto Area Music Association Award-winning youth band High Voltage is upping the wattage as it prepares to front an all-ages Hurricane Sandy benefit concert at the DoubleTree on Friday.
Tickets are $5, with the show scheduled from 7 to 10 p.m. in Club Maxx. Proceeds go straight to the victims of the hurricane, and the DoubleTree has pledged to give 20 percent of all food sales to the charity fund.
High Voltage will team up with two other youth bands, Black Skulls and The Resistance, as well as adult group Bad Medicine, a Bon Jovi tribute band.
The real Bon Jovi is from New Jersey, the area hit hardest by the hurricane. The storm barreled through the state less than a month ago, killing 39 people, cutting power to 2.7 million homes and businesses and devastating communities along the Jersey Shore.
The Dave Matthews Band recently pledged $1 million to the fund, and performers Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, The Who, Alicia Keys and Jon Bon Jovi are also doing a large concert at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 12 to benefit the cause.
"We heard that a number of musicians we enjoyed were putting on a huge concert where they were all playing together (for charity)," said Paul Grattan, 15, a sophomore at Gregori High School and the drummer for High Voltage.
"We wanted to do something like that here, so we, too, could help the victims of Hurricane Sandy, especially in the New Jersey area."
Said Nolan Harris, 12, who attends Parkview Elementary in Ripon and does backup vocals and bass guitar, "My vision is that we can raise money and help the people who live there by supplying power and medical attention."
Added Matthew Grattan, 14, the band's lead singer, guitarist and a freshman at Gregori: "We want to help out in any way that we can. We want to see people getting their homes back."
High Voltage has been gaining popularity since kicking off two years ago. "We all took lessons at the same place and we did a band program where they put bands together," said Paul. "At the end of the band program, we did one big show, and then afterward, it's over, all the bands break up but we decided to stay together.
"Ever since then, we kind of broke off from that and started doing shows around Modesto. We've gained a lot of popularity, and so far everything's going pretty good."
The band plays at parties, festivals and restaurants, including P. Wexford's Pub, where it has been performing every Thursday for the past year.
"We went through a bunch of names while we were in the program, and we really liked High Voltage because (it reflected) the sound we got, it had energy and a kind of crunch," said Matthew. The band entered in the MAMA Awards and competed against eight other bands to claim the title of Best Youth Band for 2012.
"I was really happy," said Matthew, his mouth spreading into a grin. "I had never won anything before like, anything and when I won that, I was like, 'Yes!' "
Said Nolan: "Music is a different way to speak. It's a way to connect with each other in a different language."
The band is planning to release an eponymous first album within the next two weeks.
"We're hoping everyone enjoys listening to it just as much as we did making it," said Paul. "I hope to do a lot of big things with this band. We're all excited, we're all ready, and we're staying together no matter what."
Annie Mathews is a senior at Gregori High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom Program.