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Lagoon Series concert: Play me those blues!

June 19, 2014

The June 25 Lagoon concert features Blues DoGS, known for delivering a super high-energy and a super fun musical experience. 'We have a new mantra,' lead vocalist Kent Obermann says. 'We will party hearty and outlast the crowds at our concerts.'

Next up: Blues DoGS
Wednesday, June 25
6:30-8:30 p.m.
West Lawn, LSC

If, at the next Lagoon concert, you see a wild man in a red zoot suit leap off the stage and into the audience, you’re probably looking at Kent Obermann, the point man and lead vocalist for the Blues DoGS.

“The truly embarrassing thing about doing that at last year’s Lagoon concert,” said Obermann, “was realizing, ‘Oh, man! Now I’ve got to get back up there!’ That stage was at least four feet high.” 

Standards with a twist

It seems the only thing you can expect at a Blues DoGS concert is for something unexpected to happen.

“We’re known for taking standard blues songs and adding a twist to them,” said Obermann. “We like to blow your hair back and then drop you off a cliff.” 

Wait… what?

Obermann explains (with a twinkle in his eye). “First we play something that’s super high-energy. You’re dancing with abandon like you did when you were 20-something, shaking your butt three different kinds of ways. Then, bam! We drop the rhythm and tempo down to what we call two-cheek songs.”

Explain that. No, wait—maybe you shouldn’t.

“Let’s just say that ‘two-cheek’ songs are a way of dancing that involves pulling your partner close. It’s often inspired by the slow, romantic blues we play.”

Improv is magic

“The magic of the DoGS is improv,” Obermann said. “We love slow blues with space for sax solos.

"The only way to be fully improvisational is to be an outstanding musician. Improvisation is quite literally composing on the spot," he continued. "It’s important for the rest of the band to know how to step out and step back in. That’s the collaborative element and why we have a three-hour rehearsal every week."

Getting better musically

The band's mottos are: fun and friendship; getting better musically; and putting on the best shows in Northern Colorado.

When the Blues DoGS (Disciples of God’s Son) arrive for rehearsal, they leave their work-a-day worlds as doctors, business owners, teachers, scholars, laborers and lawyers, behind.

(Although Obermann's mainstay career has been as a pediatric dentist working in a reduced-fee clinic, he has several successful businesses and enterprises.)

In the studio, they become a men’s group and a band, although they have a female vocalist, who happens to be Obermann’s daughter.

“As individuals, the Blues DoGS are accomplished musicians,” Obermann says. "Our lead guitar player has been with the band since he was 15. He’s a pro and is the youngest member at 30.

“Most of the band are over 50. I mean, we were asked to play at midnight at First Night Fort Collins, and as we were setting up to play, we were joking with people: 'Hey, we’re usually in bed by now. We’re just waiting for the three triple-shot lattes to kick in.'”

Audience favorites

Are there any songs your audiences particularly love to hear?

“We always play Summertime by George Gershwin,” Obermann said. “Our fans love that song. I was trained in classical music, so I enjoy singing in that voice. My brother, who plays harmonica for the band, always says, “He’s going to put on his purty [sic] voice.'

"We play a lot of other blues standards, and we end every concert with If I Leave This World Tomorrow, by Glenn Kaiser. That is a true gospel song. The band calls it the ‘Noodles Song,’ because the guitars are going crazy. It’s hopeful, intense,” Obermann explained.

Even when playing sets they’ve played hundreds of times, the band never rests on the success of their last performance. “We are always working at getting better,” Obermann said.

The band

Blues DoGS band members: Kent Obermann – lead vocals; Eric Romero – lead guitar; Brian Pantle – rhythm and acoustic guitar; Scott Davis – keyboards; Chris Kay – bass; Paul Hoffman – drums; Greg Obermann – harmonica; Gary Brunner – alto, tenor, baritone sax; Matt Meuli – trumpet; Tim Clarke – trombone; Mehgan Castor – vocals; Ryan Millard – guitar.

New to the Lagoon concerts?

If you've never been to a Lagoon concert before, here are some tips: Bring your family, friends, a picnic, lawn chairs, and blankets. Dance or sing along, whatever you like! 

Parking is limited on campus. If you drive to the concerts, we ask that you park in the Moby Arena, Lory Student Center or Library lots.

Want to go green? Walk, bike or take MAX Transit to campus. MAX is free this summer for all riders.

It's easy—just take MAX to the University Station – located at University Ave. and Mason St.  Walk west on University Ave. Just past the Lory Student Center is the Lagoon Concert Area.

CSU sponsors

CSU’s sponsors for the evening are the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and Animal Cancer, along with the Confucius Institute. Stop by their booths for information and SWAG. Don’t forget to register to win other great CSU prizes!

The Lagoon Concert Series is owned and hosted by Mantooth Company.

Contact: RamTrax
Phone: (970) 491-6621