Subscribe for 33¢ / day

With Hoosier rocker John Mellencamp not willing to play most of his biggest hits on his current world tour and his penchant to reinvent and re-stylize the few he is performing, the time has never been better to catch the rockin' group Mellencougar.

Chicago-based Mellencougar is an outstanding live tribute that includes all the hits just the way they were recorded by that lad from the "small town" of Seymour, Ind.

They are a collective of musicians from the "heartland" of Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin - fronted by lead vocalist Don Wilson.

Mellencouger has been steadily winning over venues, fans and other musicians with their dead-on live shows filled with solid gold favorites and a smattering of album cuts and forgotten favorites from the deep Mellencamp catalog.

Audiences sharing the experience of a Mellencougar show time trip back to the MTV years with such tales of youthful lust and wild times as "I Need A Lover," "Hurt So Good," "Jack And Diane," "Rumbleseat" and "Ain't Even Done With The Night."

Fans are also treated to many of Mellencamp's songs of social commentary with lyrics about the life and times of common folks ("Small Town," "Rain On The Scarecrow," "Your Life is Now," "Pink Houses") and reflections from a mid-life perspective ("Cherry Bomb," "Minutes To Memories," and "Our Country").

To underscore just how good Mellencouger actually captures the music and sound of the real deal, bassist Toby Myers, a former Mellencamp band member (1982-2001) and longtime Mellencamp friend, is a member of Mellencougar and plays with the band whenever his schedule allows, as is Moe Z M.D., former Mellencamp band keyboardist (1995-2001).

Region rockers may also remember Myers from his years of making albums for A&M Records with the Indianapolis-based hard rock group Roadmaster, during the 1970s.

Rounding out the group is violinist Susan Rudny, drummer Jimmy Knight and guitarists Howard Rudny and Joe McDowell. Kenji Juravic plays the bass when Myers is unavailable.

Mellencougar has shared the stage with Eddie Money, Blake Shelton, the Spin Doctors, Styx, Night Ranger, Jamey Johnson and many other national acts, along with headlining many festival dates of their own.

If you feel the need this weekend to "R-O-C-K in the REGION," then catching Mellencougar at Northwoods is just the thing.