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What does the opening of The Sylvee in Madison mean for Milwaukee concerts?

Milwaukeeans love Madison, but sometimes there can be a little sibling rivalry between our cities. So naturally when we found out that Madison has a brand new music venue built from the ground up to give a great, modern concertgoing experience for approximately 2,500 people at a time, we thought, "We're happy for you Madtown, but what does that mean for Milwaukee's concerts?"

Each Thursday morning on Radio Milwaukee, the Journal Sentinel’s Piet Levy and 88Nine’s Jordan Lee talk about the music coming into Milwaukee and the music coming out of Milwaukee on Tap’d In.

Read more and listen to the podcast below to hear us talk about what the new venue means for Milwaukee, but more importantly for Wisconsin. Plus, we talk about Milwaukee musicians returning for some upcoming hometown shows.

The Sylvee

Madison just got a shiny new concert venue called the Sylvee. Frank Productions of the Orpheum Theater and the Majestic Theatre built the new three story modern-industrial theater from the ground up to have a capacity of 2,500 people to attract touring artists to Madison. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats have already sold-out the opening night of the venue. Obviously we're happy for our state capitol's growing concert market, but what does it mean for Milwaukee?

For many reasons, artists with crowds of all different sizes have been going to Madison over Milwaukee for decades. In recent history, Madison has handled a lot of the smaller shows coming to Wisconsin. Milwaukee's answer to this was the Pabst Theater Group's Back Room @ Colectivo and it has stayed competitive.

But the 2,500-person standing room floor is something that's unique to all of Southeast Wisconsin. If Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats were coming to Milwaukee right now, it would likely be in a venue with seats, which isn't ideal for every concertgoer. Regardless, the important thing is that Nathaniel Rateliff has already been to Milwaukee this year.

Looking at the Sylvee's concert calendar, it doesn't seem like it is taking artists away from Milwaukee. Bands aren't choosing to go to Madison over Milwaukee—a lot of them are doing Madison and Milwaukee. The Decemberists, Shaky Graves, Greta Van Fleet, Death Cab for Cutie, Kurt Vile and more have all either been in Milwaukee recently or will be coming here soon.

So not only is the Sylvee not bad news for Milwaukee, it's good news for Wisconsin. And it's good news for Milwaukeeans who might want a second chance to see an artist coming to town. The Sylvee is only about an hour away.

Milwaukee artists returning to the city for upcoming shows

Willy Porter

Willy Porter is returning to Milwaukee to do a 25th anniversary show of "Dog Eared Dream" on Saturday, September 29 at the Pabst Theater.

Vinyl Theater 

Vinyl Theater is coming home to The Rave on September 29 with their reinvented sound on "STARCRUISER."

Danny Gokey

Danny Gokey's career has already outlived American Idol's and it's where he got his start. We're proud of him and our city will show it with a warm welcome when he returns to the Pabst on October 3.

88Nine Senior Director of Programming | Radio Milwaukee