Tom Waits tribute on stage at the Treehouse

The Bleeding Romeos, a Tom Waits tribute act fronted by John Wies, will return to the Treehouse Café at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13.

It’s a free concert, for those 21-and-older only.

Wies’ percussive guitar playing and guttural vocals establish the foundation of the group.

Performing locally as a soloist and in various bands, including his own Weiswald, he brings a serious yet playful Waits persona that works perfectly to set this apart from just another tribute project. He has also taken the stage in far flung places such as Japan and Korea, had his work showcased in Alaskan theatrical performances, and gotten air-play on Mongolian radio.

Jerry Anderson brings the bass to the party, swinging the low-end through the full Waits oeuvre from cabaret jazz to heartfelt blues to stadium rock ‘n’ roll. He studied jazz and classical bass at Cornish before becoming a founding member of Seattle’s neo-R&B band, Red Dress, in the 1970s.

Steve Smith rattles the drums in the group. A deft hand with sticks, brushes or palms, he brings a deep understanding of multiple genres having performed in every dive bar from Port Angeles to Portland.

Lynn Cook is on horns and assorted madness. An in-demand session, combo and studio cat, he lays down the fat and slinky horns necessary to any proper Waits tune. He has pieced together horn sections for some of the most in-demand acts, variety shows, and events since the mid ‘80s — regional and national notables the likes of Sheldon Reynolds (EW&F), Elliot Easton (Cars), Nona Hendryx (Talking Heads), Taylor Hawkins (Foo Fighters), Spike Edney (Queen), Roger Daltrey (The Who) and many others.

Jon Lanthier’s piano has been drinking, not him. With his sinister menagerie of keyboard parts, he transports listeners to the gin joints, street corners, and drunk tanks of Tom Waits’ milieu. A multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, he has performed synth-pop, jazz standards, dive bar blues and more up and down the West Coast.

It’s a formidable lineup equal to this formidable task, bringing the soul and spirit of music’s most enigmatic troubadour to life right here on Bainbridge Island.

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