Big Red Dog Music Promotions is all about LIVE MUSIC–promoting touring acts–from all over–in Des Moines, Iowa. One look at our line up and you will see, clearly, we love the blues! What we really love is just great music and that comes in many flavors. We hope to see you at a Big Red Dog show soon.
Filling the blues void
When Blues on Grand closed last October, the longtime blues club’s sound men Scott Allen and Scott Long didn’t just lose a gig, they lost a venue for their favorite music.
Over beers, the two decided to fill the blues gap in Des Moines.
Allen, who’s also a photographer and has shot blues fests all over the country, and Long, a guitarist in local band Sumpin’ Doo, worked the sound at shows like Gross Domestic Product at All Play and spoke with general manager Eric Hatfield about using the space for regular blues shows. In January, their newfound company, Big Red Dog, hosted its first show – The Bel Airs, from Kansas City – and now brings in a steady stream of local and touring acts. For Blues on Grand fans looking for an added touch of familiarity, Allen and Long even bought that bar’s old tables for the space.
Allen and Long are also trying out shows at other venues, like a Ronnie Baker Brooks performance at House of Bricks on April 15, and Mike Zito April 22 at Club 504. But they say All Play will likely remain the primary venue for their shows. Both guys’ first interest is blues, but they’re not limiting themselves. Big Red Dog booked a June 2 date for bluegrass/folk group Crooked Still, and are open to other genres if the right act comes along.
“We have a passion for the blues, but what we really like is great live music,” Allen said. “We’re definitely going to mix it up. With Blues on Grand, we saw that maybe Des Moines can’t support three national blues acts a week.
“If the market is oversaturated, people have to start making decisions. But if there’s blues one night and bluegrass the next, it’s not the same audience making that choice.”
Big Red Dog shows at All Play are typically held in a space for 250 people, but Allen and Long also have access to the ballroom, which holds up to 800 people. The March 29 Jimmy Vaughan show will take place in the larger room, which should give Allen and Long an idea of the drawing power of blues shows at All Play.
Allen and Long book each performance out of their own pocket. Because All Play gets all bar sales, their concerts sink or swim depending solely on ticket sales.
“We’re trying to do as much as we can with as little as we have,” Allen said. “It takes time to fine tune this stuff, but we’ve come a long way since that first show to making this a great room for music.”