Madison is no Milwaukee in terms of population, but when it comes to live music the state’s capitol has the Cream City beat.
The Frequency may have closed in June, but Madison’s newest live music venue, The Sylvee, will be opening its doors this Thursday, Sept. 27 on 25 S. Livingston St., just a block east of High Noon Saloon. With seven sold-out shows on the calendar — including Greta Van Fleet and more to come, The Sylvee hopes to make Madison the new Midwest epicenter for live music.
Though construction is still ongoing, the venue is beautiful, to say the least. It’s clear the goal was a quintessential, modern look. Before you even walk into the building, a mural leads you to the box office windows after a flower bed still in progress.
Once you enter, you’re steps away from the general standing area. This is ideal for giving concert lovers easy access to get to the floor during the crowd rush when an opening artist transitions to the headliner. More importantly, this prevents or, at the very least, mitigates the classic traffic jam when the concert concludes.
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On the first floor, pillars inside double as charging stations with electronic screens. Around the pillars are an extended surface to place your cellular device, along with beverages and snacks from the bar behind them. The bar is wide, with multiple registers to satisfy a larger crowd — exactly what the venue anticipates.
The origin of the venue stems back to 1964 when Herb and Sylvia Frank moved their family from Chicago to Madison to run a box office at Capitol Theatre. Sylvia has since passed away, so Frank Productions and the family team behind the scenes — including Herb, dedicated the new venue to her memory.
A mural of Sylvia Frank overlooks the floor, made up of cassette tapes painted over to create her image, with a “1964 WIS” stamp to commemorate when the Frank family journey into the music started 44 years ago.
A flight of stairs takes you to the second floor, where a bar on the opposite side of additional seating facing away from the stage caters to additional members of the audience in attendance. The second story holds the most seating, with cup holders and comfy padding to boot.
When you reach the top deck, there is an additional miniature bar around the last flight of stairs. Although this level holds additional seating, there is some exclusiveness to relish in as multiple suites with television sets and snack provisions are available for a more luxurious music listening experience.
Your view from any seat is comfortable, spacious and unrestricted. A safety overhang bar on the top floors doesn’t impede your sightline of the stage.
Along with convenient bathrooms for men and women, the venue offers several all-gender restrooms across the three floors of The Sylvee.
As for the stage itself, it is a masterpiece. Speakers are stacked and aligned on each side of the stage while additional speakers are set above. Lighting comes in gracefully from multiple angles up above, without creating a glare or significant distraction from upper-level seating.
If you were worried about The Frequency being irreplaceable, have no fear. The Sylvee is here.