Friday’s KEYN Summer Concert Series installment will have a feeling of deja vu about it — and not just because that’s the name of one of the bands on the bill.
Deja Vu, the opening act, and Stallion, the headliner, both contain former members of Three Ring Circus, which was a staple of the concert series in past years.
“It’s kind of fun to have a reunion,” Stallion guitarist Joe Sauer said.
“It’s a kick for us,” added Jim Krsnich, his counterpart in Deja Vu.
There’s another connection between the bands — Sauer and Krsnich have been buddies since childhood.
But don’t go expecting to see a re-do of Three Ring Circus.
Sauer, Krsnich and their band mates enjoyed their time in that group, but they’ve moved on to styles of music closer to their hearts.
“That was a big show band with a horn section, female vocalists and a lot of costume changes,” Sauer said. “This is more of a rock-and-roll band. It’s Dave Matthews and Maroon 5 rather than Chicago and Earth, Wind and Fire.”
Joining Sauer in Stallion are his son, Joey, on vocals; Bob Wildt on bass and accordion; Danny Ball on saxophone and guitar; and Marc Mourning on drums. Sauer noted that Mourning was inducted into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame in 2010 for his work with the Moanin’ Glories, a Wichita-based band that recorded and toured from 1965 to 1971.
“I’ve got to brag about him a minute,” Sauer said. “He’s our rock star.”
Expect to hear an eclectic mix of classics and newer music — everything from Led Zeppelin and David Bowie to Michael Buble and The Wallflowers.
Sauer said his wife joked that the band should call itself “Self Indulgence” because members just want to play what they like. The truth, Sauer said, is that they want to perform songs that challenge them and give audiences something they don’t usually hear.
“There’s a level of intricacy,” Sauer said. “We enjoy putting the crossword puzzle together and making it work. I always wanted to play ‘Roundabout’ (by Yes). I said, ‘That will take a month.’ At the end of the month, when we nailed that, we said, ‘This thing might actually work.’ ”
Because most members play several different instruments, the band can “cover quite a bit of sonic territory,” Sauer said, using multiple guitars, keyboards or other instruments as needed.
“We have our toys,” he said. “It’s a lot of instruments.”
Deja Vu started out as a Beatles tribute band, Krsnich said. “But most places we’d play, we’d get asked to play other classic rock tunes, which we knew. So, of course, we did that. You’ve got to keep these customers happy.”
The band usually plays about half Beatles songs and half tunes by other bands. For Friday’s opening act, though, it will be strictly Beatles, and in particular the group’s early songs such as “Please Please Me,” “From Me to You” and “I Saw Her Standing There.”
Krsnich said those songs are why he started playing music in the first place.
“For me, really, the reason why I got a guitar as a kid was from listening to the George Harrison guitar licks on those tunes,” he said. “They’re the most fun to play on guitar for me.”
He is joined in Deja Vu by a couple of people familiar to many Wichitans from their day jobs — KAKE-TV weatherman Ben Pringle on keyboards and Gentry LTD owner Britt Fulmer on bass — plus Fulmer’s younger brother, Bob, who lives in Topeka, on drums.