Annie: I didn’t even need to make my way to the stage, I could hear the infectious chorus of “Don’t Gotta Work it Out” from Lincoln Memorial Drive. It takes a lot to wake me up before noon on a Sunday, but Fitz and the Tantrums playing in my very own hometown was a special occasion. I ran inside Rock the Green’s makeshift fair grounds as the telling bass notes started “Winds of Change,” and there was Michael “Fitz” Fitzpatrick center stage, belting it out for all of Milwaukee to hear.
Wolfgang Schaefer, backed by his brother Benjamin on percussion, specializes is the understated simplicity of near-perfect folk songs that have made the likes of Bon Iver and Iron & Wine so gosh darned famous over recent years. This works wonders for Schaefer who is at his best when there’s turmoil in his life. He has an uncanny knack for channeling whatever he’s feeling into a beautiful catharsis, with gentle, well-practiced guitar, seasoned with harmonica and percussion, and anchored by Schaefer’s seductive and attractive voice. It must be something in the water in Wisconsin, as the state churns out amazing folk act after amazing folk act.