This Thursday, Rusty’s Surf Ranch will host another group of bands in its third week of 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.: Them Howling Bones, The Proof, Honey & Jude and Brave Native.

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.

Them Howling Bones will start off the night at 8 p.m. The band, who includes Love, Black Sabbath, Royal Blood and Bank of Skulls in their influences, describes their sound as “Cage the Elephant meets Black Sabbath. A retro punk trashy go-go modern rock.” The band members include, Pedro Torres (lead vocal), Mitch Micoley (lead guitar), Armando Lopez (bass) and Mark Flavavolita (drums). “I was living in a dilapidated bungalow in the West Hollywood Hills were I met Pedro,” Micoley said when speaking of how the band got together. “He moved in with me and we started writing songs and coming up with an idea. Armando was a mutual friend of Pete’s, and Mark was a roommate of Armondo. It really just came together. [We] started playing shows, recording music, and now we are here!” The band is looking forward to the opportunity to be “playing for new people and a new audience” and “can’t wait” for the competition. For more information on the band go to http://themhowlingbones.com.

In the 8:45 p.m. slot Rusty’s has The Proof on stage. The band, who says that, while they do have influences (including The Meters, Dr. John, Bill Withers, JJ Grey and Mofro and “anyone else with soul”), their sound is unique and they do not compare it to anyone else’s. The band is comprised of Drew Dolan (keys, lead vocals), Geramie Laufersky (guitar, vocals), Lucas Crouch (drums) and Ian Murray (bass). The band stated that, “Drew Dolan and Geramie Laufersky were working on another musical project and decided to break away and start a new one. A series of cosmic and serendipitous events brought Ian Murray and Lucas Crouch into the group. We found that The Proof was in the music.” As far as performing at Rusty’s they said, they are “really looking forward to sharing [their] sound with everybody at the show.” “We love playing our original music and are confident in our ability to bring our energy to the Santa Monica Pier and every stage we play. “ For more information on the band go to www.theproofmusic.com.

Coming in at 9:30 p.m. will be the band Honey & Jude. Honey and Jude, both vocalists, began playing casual gigs at San Gabriel Valley area restaurants in 2012. Church singers-turned pop singers, the duo performed together off and on for several years before finally making their duo-ship official in 2015. The idea for Honey and Jude originated from the movie musical “Grease.” “We try to embody the Danny and Sandy-esque charm that so many people have come to love. Often times, when we feel we might be losing inspiration, we’ll turn to the movie for a quick pick-me-up and to get ourselves back on track,” the band said. “We are excited to perform on the Santa Monica Pier!” said the band of the competition. “The great vibes and family atmosphere will be a great time to share with all our fans and friends. Playing on the pier is the exact sort of venue we picture ourselves playing when we think about what Honey and Jude is all about. We are excited to be part of this awesome experience.” For more information on the band go to http://www.honeyandjudemusic.com.

And last but not least will be Brave Native at 10:15 p.m., comprised of Dante Brunetto (singer/guitarist), John Doherty (drums) and Chris Sung (keys). “Musically, some of our common-ground influences are bands like Kings of Leon, Empire of the Sun and The Killers, but we are most unified by our approach to life and how we seek to find happiness,” Brunetto said. “Our generation is made up of educated, free thinking creative types; a lot of whom find themselves debt-ridden and struggle to find work that satisfies the soul. We encourage our listeners and our generation to be bold and to be brave. Bet on yourself, go out there and make an imprint of your passion on the world. This message motivates us as individuals but unites us as brothers on the same musical path.” The band describes their sound as “indie rock infused with funky disco rhythms, psychedelic guitar vibes, catchy synth hooks and rich, pop melodies.” The band is most looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of the Twilight Concert Series by the pier this summer. For more information on the band go to http://www.bravenativeband.com.

Rusty’s Surf Ranch is located at 256 Santa Monica Pier. There is no cover charge for the preliminary round shows.

Jake Davis Band wins Week 2

The Jake Davis Band got the second week of competition in Rusty’s Emerging Artist Competition started on a high note with an inspired set that lead the way to their top finish in the second week of five first round battles. The band’s high energy performance was marked by killer slide guitar solos, interesting harmonies, well-paced tempo changes throughout the set and strong vocals and stage presence from Davis himself, which got the band’s large fan base jumping and clapping from the very first song. Even a broken string in the middle of an impressive guitar solo couldn’t slow down Davis and his crew.

Maureen and the Mercury 5 kept the full house dancing with an engaging performance built around stellar lead vocals from Maureen Davis and a tight, professional band that played full kilter throughout the set.

The Jake Davis Band moves on to the second round of competition Thursday May 19. Maureen and the Mercury 5 are eligible for the top runner-up spot (to be determined May 12).

jennifer@www.smdp.com