Australia’s First Lady of Blues, Anni Piper, made her first ever Southern California performance on Saturday, June 30th, at the Arcadia Blues Club. The statuesque brunette, who moved to the U.S. back in 2014 brought her sultry voice and grooving bass lines to a less than capacity room in the foothills of Los Angeles. She was accompanied by Joseph Barton on guitar and Jeff Abbott on drums.
The trio, on their second stop on a five date, West Coast tour treated the attendees to a 12 song set of original jazzy blues numbers. Barton delivered the lead vocals on the fourth tune, Big Leg Woman. The ensuing piece, Hitch-Hiker Shuffle, from her debut album Jailbait, got things moving with its Southern rock-style guitar riff. Barton and Piper effortlessly wove in and out of different styles, calling out their shared, diverse talents. Two’s Company eased the set forward in a slow, jazzy blues song, with a very tasty guitar solo. Piper revved up the set again with a cover of Etta James’ The Blues Is My Business, a faster paced, Chicago style blues rocker.
Abbott kept the threesome on track with solid timekeeping, which preserved the focus on the song structure without a lot of grandstanding from any of the group. They simply presented their art in a plain frame and let the music paint the picture. Whether it’s Watchdog, with its more traditional blues feel and its driving bass line, or Come In My Kitchen, a song that shows the funky side of the songwriting, Pipers’ vocals and the music were seamless.
Piper and company finished their set with two distinctly different numbers. The next to last was the Albert Collins classic, Honey Hush, which was driven by a bass line from Piper that resembled the groove from the Animals’ We Gotta Get Out of This Place. The finale, Have My Husband, moves ahead at a wandering pace. The song sounds like it may be a bit autobiographical, as Piper warns that, “Have my husband, never mess with my man.” Piper and her band make two more tour stops on July 6th and 8th in Texas and Colorado. Then, presumably home to Oregon.
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