Memorial Union Terrace Live Music: The Quilz

Kids splashing in the water, ducks quacking, the aroma of smoked brats, friends and family smiling and laughing. Live music and the comforting warmth of the sun – can it get any better than this?

Perfectly nestled between the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s beautiful campus and Lake Mendota, the Memorial Union offers endless opportunities and events for all ages to enjoy.

Since 1928, the Memorial Union has served as a social and study area that offers multiple food and drink options for everyone in the Madison community. At the back of Memorial Union, right on the shore of Lake Mendota, sits the Memorial Union Terrace, mostly known for its vibrant-colored chairs.

Some activities offered at the terrace include paddleboard and terrace yoga, family nights, arts and crafts classes, paddleboard, kayak and canoe rentals, open mic nights, and much more!

Photo by Joelle Leigland

All Union Terrace events and activities can be found on their website. 

One of the terrace’ most popular attractions is its live music events. From the blues to classic rock and electronic funk, there is a music event for all different tastes.

On Friday, my friend and I were enjoying the nice weather when we walked down to the Terrace for some music to liven up our Friday evening. We shared a pitcher of Angry Orchard from the brat’s stand and scoped out a table.

By the time we found two seats, our interest peaked when we started seeing vibrant purple and blue lights coming from the stage and the sound of a mellow electronic beat with a retro feel. We were excited to hear and see what The Quilz had in store for us.

Vocalist Becky Heck and guitarist/ keyboardist/ producer Sage Schwarm describe themselves as “a Dream Pop/ SynthPop/ Synthwave/ Indie Pop band from the Midwest, USA, formed in 2015,” according to their website.

They kept the diverse crowd engaged by playing covers of well-known songs like “Fade to Black” by Metallica and “Heart of Glass” by Blondie, but with their own unique twist, staying true to the vibe of their music and creating a new and exciting feel for classic favorites.

The crowd immediately recognized the familiar sound of the classic hits and was also thrilled to hear the new and exciting sound that The Quilz had added to them. These covers were a hit and left the crowd cheering and wooing for more.

People quickly made their way in front of the stage to let loose and dance together to the music. A mom and daughter danced the entire time, attracting others to join them and appreciate a beautiful night by moving their bodies to the beat.

In between the two cover songs, The Quilz also performed their top song, “Drown in Your Love,” which has a bubbly, ethereal, catchy beat. The song opens with an angelic, euphoric sound, followed by an electric beat that makes you want to get up and dance. By the second time the chorus hit, my friend and I, along with other members of the crowd, were singing along to the song that had everyone feeling good.

Vocalist Becky Heck also looked the part when performing, with a flowy dress and a big sparkly crown. Her look mixed perfectly with the vibrant lights and ethereal music. The Quilz was a sight to see.

After an electrifying night listening to live music, my friend and I ended the night by sitting on the Memorial Union Pier, another fun addition to the Union. We sat and watched the reflection of the lights ripple on the water as a group of kids took turns jumping into the water.

As the sky got darker, we called it a night, an eventful one.

By Joelle Leigland