Monday, September 1, 2014

Night Prowler tribute band plays Milan Melon Festival

MILAN, Ohio — Night Prowler lead guitarist Mark Ohlmacher was, well, a night prowler.

Not one who would get in trouble with the police, mind you, but a rocker who prowled the front of the stage Sunday night. The AC/DC tribute band’s lead guitarist often left the stage to play on the street, walk through the crowd, shimmy with a dancing lady or strum power chords from the stands.

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“I think it’s good,” said Greenwich resident Patty Clark, a hard-rock fan since the 1980s.

“I think they seem to be having a fun. They seem to be enjoying themselves,” she said between Night Prowler’s two sets.

Clark’s favorite song was “Have a Drink on Me.”

“I’m glad they played that one,” she said.

Her 27-year-old son, Brad, said he thinks lead singer Ryan Cornell’s vocals are great.

“I think he’s as good as you can get to the real thing,” he said. “That’s a hard voice to mimic.”

Cornell founded Night Prowler nearly four years ago. The rest of the band consists of rhythm guitarist Jay Albert, bassist Randy Stillman and drummer George Elliott.

The 2014 Night Prowler line-up (from left): Jay Albert, Ryan Cornell, Randy Stillman,  Mark Ohlmacher and George Elliott.
Ohlmacher, the lead guitarist, wore Angus Young-like duds: A blazer, button-down dress shirt and a tie — plus shorts and a newspaper cap like the AC/DC co-founder always wears in concert. Cornell said Night Prowler has band meetings before each gig and the group decides how to make each concert the best it can be.

“Because Angus goes into the crowd, we decided to have him (Ohlmacher) go into the crowd. That seems to get the crowd revved up,” Cornell said.

Night Prowler, a Cleveland-based band, played for about 90 minutes during its first set, which ended with the AC/DC classic, “Highway to Hell.” The personable rockers took a break, signed autographs and chatted with residents and then played another 12 or 13 songs.

Sunday was Night Prowler’s first time performing at the Milan Melon Festival, but they had played in Sandusky and Bellevue earlier this summer. The tribute band averages about 50 shows a year.

“In the summer we do several (festivals) a month,” said Albert, who has the second-longest tenure in Night Prowler.

When asked about the energy from the crowd Sunday, he smiled and said it was “really good.”

“Everybody is really into it. They are up and dancing,” the guitarist said.

They were indeed. One couple did some swing-dancing to “You Shook Me All Night Long.”

“It’s a lot of fun to be here,” Cornell told the audience early in the concert.

“Last week we were up in Michigan,” said Cornell, which didn’t get a response at first. “I said, ‘Last week we were up in Michigan. …,’” he said, letting his voice fade away — and several crowd members gave good-natured “boos.”

“That’s what I thought,” added the singer, who chuckled.

After the first set, Cornell told the REFLECTOR/Cary's Comics Craze he enjoyed the energy from the crowd.

“Everyone seems to be having a good time. It’s a good festival,” he said.

BLOGGER'S NOTE: This post also appeared as a feature in the NORWALK REFLECTOR newspaper.

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