The top three bands meet in finals on Thursday for a spot at the Twilight Concert Series


LA Guns will judge as Vibrant Heights, Atomic Walrus, and Arms Akimbo battle.


Three top local rock bands will fight it out at Rusty’s Surf Ranch on the Santa Monica Pier Thursday night May 25 for a slot in this Summer’s Twilight Concert Series. Vibrant Heights, an 8-piece reggae/Afrobeat rock band will start the show at 8:30, followed by a high- energy blend of rock, hip-hop and funk from Atomic Walrus.


Arms Akimbo, a west-side Alternative Rock band, will close the competition at 10:30 with its harmony and percussion-driven sound.The bands fought their way through two preliminary rounds to earn their slots in the well-known competition, now in its 16th season at Rusty’s, long a popular restaurant and nightclub at the heart of the internationally famous pier. For the finals performance, each band will play a 45-minute set, judged by members of the legendary rock band L.A. GUNS.


Richard Kimble, producer of the radio concert series “The Road” and Vice President of Artist Relations, Mobile Recording, for Westwood One will also return as a finals judge along with Rusty’s founder Russ Barnard. Semi-final judges included Andrew Conde, label manager for Create Music at; Kathleen Wirt and Sejo Navajas of 4th Street Recording Studio and music executive David Newberg, a former member of the Pier’s board of directors.


The top band in the competition receives a $2,000 opening slot for one of the highly-popular Twilight Concert Series dates this summer. The top runner-up will be booked for a $1000 headline show at Rusty’s, and the third place finisher will be booked for a $500 headline show at Rusty’s. After more than 22 years providing popular entertainment — along with a full food and drink menu — Rusty’s has become one of Santa Monica’s favorite pier destinations.


For the date of the winner’s TCS performance check out the full series lineup, which will be announced to the public this Wednesday.


– Submitted by Jordon Heskett