Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Frequency - Madison, WI

"Kenneth, what is the frequency?"  That's the question, but why do I ask?  Do I really want to know why Dan Rather was pummeled by strangers after they asked that question?  When Rather was asked that question no one could imagine that such a little question would spawn songs, parodies and constant jabs by those old guys on TV after the 10 o'clock (Central time of course) news.  I almost forgot, no I don't want to know the answer (why Rather took a beat down) but the question should probably be "What is the Frequency?"

I recently went to another "Cornfed Bruiser" show and this time it was at "The Frequency" in Madison, WI and I was amazed by what I saw.  CFB was flipping amazing (I would expect nothing less) but I think I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the venue.  The Frequency is located at 121 W. Main St and as I wandered about the streets of Madison I was initially amazed by the fact that my GPS decided to take me to the wrong spot and although there was a parking garage I soon realized that we would be taking a little walk.

If I were honest I would tell you that it wasn't a "little walk", it was more like a hike down the Appalachian Trail and I thought the heavens were about to open and pour forth massive amounts of rain.  Obviously its not the fault of "The Frequency" or my CFB friends but it bears mentioning.

I have this love of little bars, the kind where you can go to for about 75 years and know every living soul that sits on the broken down bar stools (no not in the "Cheers" way).  Small bars have character, they have a soul and those big sports bars are overpriced, chicken wing serving nightmares where you know no one from week to week.  The Frequency fits in the small bar ideal with an exception, its in a college town.  Wait, its not just a "college town" its a freaking state capitol with a Big 10 school for a college so the crowd in a bit "eclectic."

Despite the "eleclecticity" (new word), this location had that perfect small bar feel to it.  I looked around during my time there (to the extent I probably looked like I was casing the establishment) and from the little tchotchkes in display cases to all of the "stuff" that had been permanently encased on the bar top it fit the bill perfectly.  A bar such as this has so many different people gracing its doorstep that its hard to not meet someone interesting.

The bar area was filled to capacity and everyone there was polite and not little weasels that want to start fights if you breath too close to them.  The bar staff was helpful and friendly and as CFB started an overwhelming number of the patrons wound their way back to the sound of violent guitar and bass.  For me I think that the coolest part of this establishment was at the end of a small little hallway (right next to the girl taking admissions).

The first thing that came to me was how close everyone was to each other as well as close to the band.  It put me into this image of "The Beatles" in that little club in Liverpool, it was the perfect space for music.  The exposed brick, the wood floors and all of the fliers and bumper stickers that adorned the wall couldn't but make your adrenaline flow.  It was interesting as I perused the walls looking at the playbills, the bands seemed to encompass the complete feeling of the establishment. 

There was a slight enigma that evening, that being the fact that the sound was incredible.  With that cavern-like feel and all of that brick, the sound was excellent and the testament to the skill of said sound dude.  All three of the bands I saw sounded great.  Well done!

In between shows we sat at this little four top table and across from me sat two very old, coin operated video games (BurgerTime and a space game that I sucked at as a kid so I forgot its name).  BurgerTime began to call my name, it wanted me to play I could just feel its draw.  Alas I hadn't a quarter so I was unable to purchase the wares to grace the laddered factory of burgers (okay I think I just channeled some old, medieval old gent sorry about that).  None the less both games added character to the establishment, as did the two people I watched as they tried to play (and failed miserably, amateurs).

Everything about The Frequency reminds me of that old neighborhood bar while at the same time putting a really interesting, really fun twist to it.  Dan Rather had no answer when he was asked "what's the frequency?", but I have one.  Go to The Frequency and leave your world behind you and have fun because if you can't have fun there well... You don't know how.

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