Milwaukee, unfortunately, doesnâ€™t have a huge childrenâ€™s music scene, so I make a point to check out the few local, kiddo bands that pop up, including Fox & Branch, The Figureheads and The Chickadees.
I wrote an article about The Chickadees a few months ago, and at that time, lead singer Mary Karlzen sent me their CD, "Songs From The Great Outdoors." It quickly fell into regular rotation in the car CD player, so when I saw that The Chicakdees were playing again this year at Summerfest, my family and I -- which includes my 6-year-old sons -- decided to make a pilgrimage to check out the band live.
Weather conditions were near perfect on the Big Gig's grounds, with sunshine, temperatures in the 70s and a perfect lake breeze.Â Â
The Chickadees performed at 2:15 p.m at Summerfest's Children's Theater & Playzone, and there was a decent turnout in for the show, including OnMilwaukee.com senior editor Drew Olson who was with his wife and daughter. Most of the audience members, of course, were under 10.
Karlzen -- who uses the stage name "Mare Mare" -- appeared with co-Chickadees Anjl Rodee and Carmen Nickerson wearing brightly colored Chickadees T-shirts, jeans or pants and matching pink sneakers. I instantly appreciated that they were animated and smiley, but not fake.
"It's great that the kids have fun, but as a parent it's sometimes hard to sit through a kids' show, so we try to make it entertaining for the parents, too," says Karlzen.
The band's debut album, "Songs from the Great Outdoors," won a Parentsâ€™ Choice award, and the group plans to release a second CD by the end of the year.
At the concert, most of the material was drawn from "Songs from the Great Outdoors," including "An Owl In the Tree," "5 Shiny Apples" and "Chickadees Song." The majority of the bandâ€™s songs are about nature, seasons and animals.
The trio has an engaging stage presence with catchy lyrics and nice harmonies, although it was difficult to hear Rodee …