Music Meets the Arts

Popular Strawberry Girls bring a strong local following to Oldtown Salinas.

In 2015, Justin Soria of Pin Up Productions helped organize a charity concert in Redwood City, California, to raise money for The Arts That Heal, a nonprofit organization that provides art and music supplies and lessons to children in hospitals with cancer and other severe ailments. The success of that show gave Soria the idea to organize a similar event in his native Salinas, with help from Dillon Costello, a graphic artist and vocalist with Monterey-based metal band Windows of Lucidity.

Soria and Costello hope the event, taking place on Friday at Somos Art Gallery, proves successful enough to make it an annual event.

Soria and Costello consciously booked bands from different genres, as opposed to the metal and hardcore punk shows that have become a mainstay of the Salinas underground music scene of which both are long-time members.

The six artists scheduled to display their work include Costello, who specializes in portraits and traditional 1950s comic book-style graphic art, and Nick Guevara, who works as a freelance tattoo artist, utilizing the same traditional style on paper prints. Destiny Mattson of Santa Cruz paints female portraits, preferring solid pieces of wood over the canvas. San Jose’s James G Medrano, TATH’s founder, specializes in graphic digital prints, while Cristina Giron of Watsonville focuses on tattoos. Yet another ink slinger, Iris Godinez, practices freehand tattooing while also dabbling in cartoon-style illustrations. Each artist gets a table at the show’s venue, where they display pieces for sale while donating at least one to be raffled off.

The six-band playbill includes Strawberry Girls of Salinas and their energetic progressive rock sound and fellow locals The Modern Life, who blends post-hardcore punk with experimental and math rock. One Vote for Violence, featuring Guevara on guitar, offers a blend of death metal and hardcore punk from San Jose, while Windows of Lucidity plays more traditional death metal. DZR, also from Salinas, mixes post-punk with goth rock, and Beside the Sky, another Salinas-grown group, satisfies fans of alternative and pop punk.

“Everybody gets a chance to shine,” Soria says.

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Art raffles take place between sets and each guest gets one raffle ticket with purchase of their ticket. Guests also receive a free swag bag full of souvenirs.

“We want to create lasting memories for everyone who attends,” Soria says.

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