Getting To Know The Santa Monica Semi-Finalists
Rusty’s Surf Ranch has been an iconic drinks/dining/dancing fixture of SoCal’s historic Santa Monica Pier for 20 years, and since 2001 it has also been a place for local bands to flex their music muscle at the annual Emerging Artist Competition.
A judging panel consisting of A&R guru Michael Lanahan, Rusty’s founder Russell Barnard, and Static Beach exec David Newberg have been chosen to help pick this year’s winner, who will be handsomely rewarded with $1500, a slot to play at the pier’s legendary Twilight Concert Series and a radio appearance on Static Beach’s own Friday Night Live. Of the 16 bands opening the 2014 competition in May, six have now made it through to the semi-finals, and we’re here to help you get to know each of them a little better…
The Fire Department
School was not all textbooks and lectures for the members of The Fire Department. While attending the University of California, Santa Barbara, the band gained momentum and were aptly dubbed “party rockers” by the local paper. Following the lead of other notable Isla Vista musicians such as Rebelution and Jack Johnson, the five-piece hosted extravagant house parties that would attract thousands of fans. After graduating, this snowballed into West Coast tours and a matured sound that is present on the band’s latest offering, the Underwater EP.
What began as three roommates sharing a mutual love for music and drinking Guinness quickly blossomed into a devoted band…that likes to drink Guinness. The Roustabouts know that life doesn’t always have to be taken so seriously, but one thing they are quite passionate about is their music, and it shows. The folk/rock trio have toured all throughout California and are gearing up to release their debut full-length album in June.
Though the members of Bonavox currently call Pasadena, CA home, the quintet came together from four very different places – Germany, Brazil, Indonesia and Sweden. The band’s lush indie rock is as diverse as each member’s origin, pulling from british pop/rock, and adding sonic flares from every corner of the world. Bonavox’s pop sensibility won them a Grammy U competition nod for their first single, “Fallen Angels,” off their recently released self-titled EP.