Arts and Entertainment

Listen up: Bands galore get set to groove

Sarab, which will play the Bike on Saturday, is one of many bands to visit the Island this weekend. - Courtesy Photo
Sarab, which will play the Bike on Saturday, is one of many bands to visit the Island this weekend.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Vashon will pulse with music in the next several days, with even more concerts than usual popping up on Island stages. Pick your favorite, or make it a musical weekend and take in several shows. And don’t forget to bring your dancing shoes.

The fun will kick off with Picoso, a Latin dance band, taking the stage at 9 p.m. Friday, June 17, at Red Bicycle Bistro

The popular Seattle band makes regular appearances on Vashon, thanks to Pete Welch, who books music for The Bike.

“They are one of my absolute favorite bands,” said Welch. “These guys can make the worst dancer feel like John Travolta — they are that good.” 

Picoso is a seven-piece band, complete with a horn section, that plays all orginal music grounded in the Afro-Cuban sounds of the Caribbean.

Their show on Friday is for all ages until 11 p.m. and 21 and older after that. There is a $5 cover charge. 

Also on Friday, singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Melissa Ruth will bring what she calls “homegrown folk-sass” to a free concert from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 17, at Café Luna.

Ruth, a classically trained musician, has released a folk album, “Underwater and Other Places,” and has toured throughout the Western United States with her husband, multi-instrumentalist Johnny Leal. A new album, “Ain’t No Whiskey,” is on the way. In addition to all this, Ruth and Leal are also full-time educators, teaching music to students in grades kindergarten through high school.

Another concert, dubbed Vashon Round #2, will combine poetry, visual art and music, and will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at Hogsback Farm, located at 16530 91st Ave. S.W. 

The outdoor show, organized by Islanders Greg Dember, Dave Wilke and Jenni Wilke, will feature an interesting lineup.

Merna Ann Hecht, a storyteller who helped put together the recent Vashon Poetry Fest, will read poetry. Noted Island artist Kristen Reitz-Green will paint throughout the evening. 

Three musicians have also been asked to play — Islander Pat Reardon, Tacoma singer Kirsten Wenlock and Alaska-based composer Sergius Gregory. 

Reardon, a guitarist, plays in several Vashon bands and is known to many local listeners for his fast fingers and witty compositions and cover tunes.

Gregory, a lifelong composer, has lived in a New York City train tunnel, on an Aleutian island in Alaska and in a rented coffee shack in the hills above Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. He currently lives in Homer, Ala.

Wenlock’s life has also had lots of unusual twists, including being in a popular sister act as a child that took her all over the world to perform.

More recently, she and her friend Travis Barker released a full-length CD, “Room to Start.” The duo plays together under the name Elk and Boar. The cost for the evening of music, poetry and painting is $5 per person, payable at the door. 

A new Vashon band, Sarab, will bring the passionate and provocative sounds of world music to Red Bicycle Bistro’s stage at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18. During this free show, listeners of all ages will be able to sit and enjoy the sounds of Spain and the melodies of the Middle East, or get up and dance to the grooves of Africa and South America. 

Band members include Azula and Assia Hamani on vocals, Ken Jacobsen on guitar, Jason Everett on base and vocals and Geoff Johns on percussion. The show is free and for all ages until 11 p.m., when the venue switches to a 21 and older only admission policy.

Crafts and music will come together in the monthly Vashon Celtic Players and Knitters gathering at Café Luna from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 19. This free event is for those who love jigs, reels and polkas or those who like to sit and knit. Visit to get a head start on some of the tunes that will be played.

It’s that time of the year again — time to pack a picnic, grab the lawn chairs and head to Ober Park for Vashon Allied Arts free Summer Concerts in the Park series.

The first concert, slated for 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, June 23, will bring the ensemble Rouge to the stage for an evening of traditionally based music and unexpected, playful improvisations. 

The highly acclaimed group, known for its renditions of famous and obscure French tunes, was founded in 1998 by vocalist Janet Rayor. It has since grown to include Steve Rice, Ruthie Dornfeld, Janet Rayor, Carey Black and Julian Catford on vocals, violin, accordion, guitar and double bass. 

For more information about the group, which tours internationally, visit


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