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Sly, spry octogenarian bluesman Mose Allison is the ultimate hipster. Along with Carlsbad bassist Gunnar Biggs, the pianist-singer delivered what his audience expected, judging by the raucous applause between numbers. Mr. Allison has been doing his take on blues and jazz for near 60 years, and has influenced everyone from Van Morrison to the Who to Elvis Costello, all of whom have covered his dry-wit compositions.

A typical Allison song uses the blues form to observe and comment on the ironies of life and love. One clever tune proclaimed, “Ever since the world ended, I don't go out as much.” The concert was paced like a sprint through a bad neighborhood after dark. He played 20 songs (mostly originals) in 80 minutes.

Biggs took some solos and his timekeeping was lockstep — it's why he got the gig. Allison saved his “hits” for last. The crowd cheered and laughed at the punch lines for “Getting There” and “Your Mind Is on Vacation (But Your Mouth Is Working Overtime)” as if hearing them for the first time.

  • Concert: Mose Allison
  • Date: May 27
  • Venue: Anthology
  • Seats: first floor, bar
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