This Thursday, Rusty’s Surf Ranch will hold its second week of performances in the preliminary round of its 15th Annual Emerging Artist Competition.

This week’s bracket includes four bands, each playing a 30 minute set, starting at 8 p.m.: Jake Davis Band, Johnny Stachela, Maureen & The Mercury 5 and Almost Classy.

Continuing a tradition that began in 2011, when the Rusty’s EAC winner opened for the band Dawes, the winner of the competition will open one of this year’s 10 Twilight Concert Series summer dates. The EAC first runner-up will win a $500 showcase gig on Rusty’s stage.

“We’re excited to do the competition,” said Jake Davis of the Jake Davis Band, whose opening this week’s show at 8 p.m. “Growing up in L.A. the pier concerts have been a tradition for me for a while now. We’re hoping that EAC is looking for a young band with a modern sound, because that’s what we’re bringing to the table and what I think will attract more people to the Twilight Series.” Davis is a songwriter from Sherman Oaks. He creates his songs alone, composing and recording in a bedroom, and they “take on a different form” live with the Jake Davis Band. The band includes Eddy Barco (drums), James Harmon III (bass) and Jordan Meltzer (guitar). “[Jake’s] demeanor and general apathy are deeply routed in a San Fernando Valley upbringing, for which Davis feels no shame as he waves the flag of suburbia with pride,” the band said in a statement. For more information about the band, go to www.jakedavisband.com.

Johnny Stachela, who will be rocking in the 8:45 p.m. slot, is a Santa Monica-based band comprised of Johnny Stachela (guitar), Vince Fossett Jr. (drums) and Sebastian Ciceri (bass) that has been performing together for the past three years. “We aim to be an early 70s’ power trio,” Stachela said, stating the band’s influences as Cream, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. Stachela said the band is a guitar center-blues based, rock group. “I really look at every gig as an opportunity to expose new people to our music,” Stachela said of playing in the EAC. “But we’d like to play out as much as we can and obviously the goal is to reach as broad an audience as possible, so that’s our goal.” Johnny Stachela just finished recording their second album. To learn more about the band go to, https://www.reverbnation.com/johnnystachelaband.

Maureen and The Mercury 5 will be making some noise in the 9:30 p.m. slot with their self-described “rockabilly jump swing” sound. Maureen Davis was on Broadway and toured as a jazz singer before coming to L.A. to discover rock and roll and eventually get into alternative country music. “I was told I had a theatrical presence and that I could have fun doing rockabilly with it,” Davis said, “and it’s fun, really, really fun.” The band for the competition is comprised of Davis (lead vocals), Steve Whalen (bass),  Scott McLean (lead guitar/vocals), T. Alex Budrow (drums) and Stevie Campos (harmonica/rhythm guitar). “The guys are my favorite people in the world. My bandmates combined would be the perfect man,” Davis said. “We’re hoping Rusty’s audience and the piergoers will embrace our music and see how much fun we’re having. We want them to celebrate music with us,” Davis said. For more information on the band, visit https://www.reverbnation.com/maureenandthemercury5.

Almost Classy, an “upbeat pop rock band” that has been together for five years, will be finishing up Thursday night in the 10:15 p.m. slot. “Our influences are everything from early Maroon 5 to OneRepublic to The Beatles,” said guitarist and vocalist for the band, Aaron Bernbach. “The Beatles are where a lot of our harmony and melody is driven from. We also have the influences of The Foo Fighters, Young the Giant and 90s hip hop music too.” Bernbach’s bandmates include, Rob Cunliffe (vocals, guitar), Devin McNichol (vocals, bass) and Ian Lowe (drums). “For this to be possible is kind of awesome,” Bernbach said, of Almost Classy’s chance to compete in EAC for an opening slot at the Twilight Summer Concert Series. “It will be great overall exposure and we will have a great time. We pride ourselves on having a good time when we perform.” For more information on the band go to, http://www.almostclassymusic.com/.

jennifer@www.smdp.com