Located just past the Capitol on King Street, the Majestic is Madison’s oldest performance space, and it may just be its best. The venue features a medium-sized stage equipped with an LED screen, a standing-room only floor with a bar and a balcony overlooking it all. These elements combine to provide the perfect atmosphere for the mid-table national acts, themed dance parties and “brew-and-view” movie presentations that are frequently held at the Majestic. With a maximum capacity of about 600, Majestic is the place to go for an intimate experience that still makes for an epic night out.
Notable recent acts: Flatbush Zombies, Hippie Sabotage, STRFKR
Flatbush Zombies give spiritual lesson, performance at MajesticChants of “FLATBUSHHHH! FLATBUSHHHH!” could be heard ricocheting off the walls of the Majestic Theatre from fans desperately pleading for Read…
Sold-out STRFKR show features dancing astronauts, fire alarms, unsolicited kissesAlmost eight years since the release of their debut album, STRFKR continued to entertain crowds Sunday with their signature digital sound Read…
Like any college town, there are plenty of student musicians in Madison who are bursting with talent. But not having the fan-base needed to play Madison’s larger venues presents a problem when they want to perform their art in front of a crowd. The solution is to plan their own shows either at one of Madison’s many co-ops, or simply in their own house. These shows often become hybridized concert-parties, but the music is always at the forefront, and the ability to socialize with the performers after is an experience completely unique to Madison’s student DIY/Co-op scene.
Notable recent acts: Bear in the Forest, ME eN YOU, Taneisha Broadway
Madison’s hidden gem lies in zealous student musician Bear in the Forest, his heartening inspirationIn the heart of Madison resides Bear — but instead of sharp canines and long claws, he’s armed with a Read…
The Orpheum, simply put, is Madison’s marquee concert and entertainment venue. Featuring a huge and newly restored sign and located smack-dab in the middle of State Street, it’s almost impossible to miss. The Orpheum is the place to see the biggest national touring artists, including comedians, and it has the capacity to boot. With bars spread throughout, the Orpheum has a concert floor for more die-hard concertgoers, and a ton of balcony and opera seats for those looking for a calmer experience. The Orpheum has helped put Madison on the map as a legitimate touring stop for some of the United States’ and world’s biggest acts, and there’s no reason to think it’s slowing down.
Notable recent acts: Future, Modest Mouse, Tori Kelly
High Noon Saloon
Despite what its name might suggest, the High Noon Saloon is not some plain ole’ country bar, rather far from it. Instead, it’s one of the best places to catch mid-sized national acts of all genres. The small, but not tiny, High Noon offers a relatively large standing-room floor with a bar on each side and a slim balcony with seats for those looking to take a load off. Its East Washington Avenue location is a fair walk from campus. But one advantage of its location is that some of Madison’s trendiest restaurants such as Julep or Green Owl Cafe are located mere blocks away, making for the perfect night out with friends or that special someone. It’s also worth noting that the High Noon is home to non-musical events as well, such as Madison’s version of the Moth StorySLAM, a national story-telling competition.
Notable recent acts: Caroline Smith, Built to Spill, Frankie Cosmos
Though it’s Madison’s tiniest venue, The Frequency packs a large punch. Occasionally pulling larger acts, The Frequency is mostly known as the place to go to see bands just big enough to justify U.S. tours, as well as standout local artists. The space itself is low-key, and only fits around 250 people standing. As a result, it offers indie vibes and still pulls talent from across the country. The venue is also equipped with a bar set-up, and serves locally-sourced pizza all night — a rarity for a concert venue of any size.
Notable Recent Acts: Hoops, Zella Day, Son Lux
The Sett — UW Union South
If you’re not yet familiar with the Wisconsin Union Directorate, it’s the school-backed board of organizations that plans the vast majority of UW’s cultural and entertainment offerings. Their music division, WUD Music, is responsible for providing the student body with a slew of national and international acts, and they rarely, if ever, disappoint. They offer concerts all across campus, but their main venue is The Sett, located in Union South. The best part about these concerts is that, no matter how big the artist may be, the shows are completely free to the student body. An added bonus bonus is WUD Music will often book local or student artists to perform as openers for larger acts, adding a homey flair to the shows as well as deserved exposure for those artists.
Notable Recent Acts: Vince Staples, Martin Courtney, Wave Racer
Martin Courtney solidifies new direction as humble solo artist with intimate, amiable energyIf there were any lingering doubts in the audience about Martin Courtney’s choice to branch out from his band Real Read…