The Watusi and the Jerk—popular dance moves in the early 1960’s—could be spotted during the launch of Summer Sounds Concerts at City Center Plaza on Wednesday. Over a hundred people, some of them doing the Twist, cheered on The Sun Kings, an Alameda based rock band that covers the Beatles’ music.
Summer Sounds offers free lunchtime concerts at the plaza every Wednesday from noon to 1 p.m. Each week will spotlight a different group and genre of music. The audience—downtown workers, neighbors and commuters from across the Bay Area—gets to enjoy live music and lift their energy through dance moves.
This is the forth time The Sun Kings band members—Drew Harrison (vocals, guitars, percussion), Michael Barrett (vocals, keyboards, guitars, harmonica), Bill Zupko (vocals, lead guitar), Peter LoMenzo (vocals, bass), and Steve Scarpelli (vocals, drums, percussion)—gave a concert at the plaza. The band has been together for about 12 years, performing throughout central California and the Bay Area, and on Wednesday they were grateful for the good weather. “It rained last year, so this blue sky day was a lot better,” said Harrison. “We’ve done these before—it’s a lot of fun.”
“We play all Beatles,” he continued. “We love playing Beatles, Beatles, Beatles and know hundreds of Beatles songs.” Their performance included “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Revolution,” “Come Together,” and “Birthday,” a song from the Beatles 1968 The White Album, to celebrate the birthday of a woman in the crowd.
Although some bands change the style of the famous English rock band, The Sun Kings stick to the group’s original style. “There are many ways to do it,” Harrison said. “But we really enjoy the music until this day, and it really appeals to a lot of people.”
City Center Plaza is located outside the 12th Street Oakland City Center BART station at 500 12th Street in downtown Oakland. The following is a list of the remaining Summer Sounds Concerts:
6/13 Fito Rionoso (Cuban salsa)
6/20 Napata and the Kisses (Motown)
6/27 Zydeco Flames (Zydeco)
7/11 KJ Allstars (R&B Dance)
7/18 Hot Einstein (90’s cover band)
7/25 Alexa Morales (Latin jazz vocalist)
8/1 Megan Slankard (KFOG singer/songwriter)
8/8 Dynamic (Hip Hop)
8/15 Meshugga Beach Party (Jewish)
8/22 Big Cat Tolfree (Blues)
8/29 Pure Ecstasy (Motown)