Prepare to have some fun, fun, fun at CityJam

On Thursday night, the streets of downtown Seymour will feel — and sound — like a beach party.

That’s when North Vernon-based Sounds of Summer: A Beach Boys Tribute will present many of the popular 1960s rock band’s songs during the third Seymour CityJam concert of the summer.

The band, consisting of David Ertel, Connor Ertel, Eric Wernke and Matt Thompson, is excited to be a part of the series.

“We’ve all performed in Seymour a few times in our previous bands, but this will be much more exciting to appear with Sounds of Summer: A Beach Boys Tribute,” Thompson said. “It’s going to be really cool to play for so many people that are just 15 miles away and may have never heard of us.”

The free concert will start at 6 p.m. Thursday. Vendors will sell food and drinks starting at 5:30 p.m.

The members formed the tribute band in 2012. They knew each other growing up in North Vernon and became close friends through being in bands in high school and college.

Thompson and David Ertel, who both graduated from Jennings County High School in 2009, were in the band Products of 77. Connor Ertel, a 2006 grad, and Wernke, a 2007 grad, were part of the band Younger Brother.

“Both groups were similar in that they really focused on vocal harmonies,” Thompson said. “For a while, I played in both groups, and we would talk about how cool it would be to combine members from both groups since we were all friends and David and Connor are first cousins. Sounds of Summer: A Beach Boys Tribute was the idea that finally made it happen.”

The band spent months studying about 30 of the Beach Boys’ greatest hits, such as “Good Vibrations,” “Barbara Ann” and “Surfin’ Safari.”

“Learning all of the songs properly took some time. We were all familiar with the recordings, but we had to break it down into different phases,” Thompson said.

“Since the harmonies are complex, I transcribed the vocal parts before we got together to start practicing,” he said. “Then for about five months, first, we just practiced the vocal parts. We added the instruments in the last few months of shedding the material. But overall, I’d say we spent around eight months in 2014 mostly practicing.”

This is their first year of performing.

“The music is really special because it is the epitome of teamwork on stage,” Thompson said. “I think we were all drawn to the idea of a Beach Boys tribute because we all knew that in every song we would each get an exciting part to sing and play that works perfectly with the rest of the song.

“Plus, the music hasn’t really been paid tribute to by many guys our age, and the timing seemed right since it has now been 50 years since the release of their legendary album ‘Pet Sounds.’”

Thompson said the band performs once or twice a month, so far only in Indiana.

“But with a little luck, we’ll see some exciting new places come 2016,” he said.

For those going to Thursday’s show in Seymour, Thompson said, people can expect to be entertained.

“Whether you are a die-hard fan of the Beach Boys or just the casual listener, you will have fun,” he said. “And hopefully, we can even inspire some new listeners along the way.”

Thompson said he is excited to see what the future holds for the band.

“I see our future as being a show that people look forward to every year,” he said. “So far, we’ve sold out every theater we’ve performed in and get new messages from all over, so I hope we just keep up the momentum.”

Old Salt Union, a contemporary bluegrass group, will close the third year of the Seymour CityJam concert series on Sept. 17.

If you go

What: Seymour CityJam outdoor concert, organized by Southern Indiana Center for the Arts and sponsored by Jay C Food Stores, JCB, Seymour Crossing and The Tribune

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: East Second Street between the railroad tracks and Ewing Street in downtown Seymour

Who: Sounds of Summer: A Beach Boys Tribute

Cost: Admission is free, but food, drinks and desserts will be sold by The Pines, Bartholomew County Beverage and Orange Leaf; donations also will be collected for Southern Indiana Center for the Arts

On the Web

Sounds of Summer: A Beach Boys Tribute has a promotional video and music on its website, soundsofsummertribute.com.

The band also can be found on Facebook at facebook.com/soundsofsummertribute.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.