U.A.D. attempts a come back

In the late Nineties, U.A.D., a local band featuring four part r’n’b harmonies with a focus on the Motown sound, established a tradition of Valentine concerts, eventually expanding to include Mother’s Days. Five years ago, however, with Larry Mathis, the group’s leader spending time developing a second performance group, the tradition faded. “We grew up on romance,” Mathis recalls now. “Back in the Seventies, Me and Ike {Wynn, a U.A.D. original, now Mathis’ partner in the group’s production} used to go to a club called The Place on Tallman and South Avenue. We were mesmerized by these groups that came through and just personified romance. We want to bring that back. We especially want to bring it to the younger generation.”

To launch the comeback, U.A.D.—the initials signifying Uplites, Avatar and Destiny, bands Mathis and Wynn sang with back in the day—will host a Valentine’s Day concert at the City Hall Atrium, 223 East Washington Street,  Friday, February, 14 from 7 to 11 p.m. As an opening act, Mathis has signed Soul Mine Band, a group led by former U.A.D. singer Rick Linzy. Returning to their tradition, roses will be handed out to the first 35 female attendees. Also in tradition, U.A.D. will be outfitted in matching attire from Bergan’s Urban Fashions. Capacity at the Atrium is 140, so tickets are on advance sale only, and are available for $20 at Bergan’s, 323 South Salina Street or by calling 882-4888.
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“For us,” Mathis reflects, “Motown is endless music that tells stories. The stories have meaning as far as how to treat someone, how to be as a person. It reminds us of the Doo Wop days, when there was community, when everybody was on the corner singing.” With memories of opening for such headliners as Brass Construction and Crown Heights Affair, Mathis wants the Valentine performance to put the local music scene on notice that U.A.D. is back, ready and deserving of inclusion on the annual civic playbills from Juneteenth to A Taste of Syracuse. And to show that the comeback is already established as more than a one-shot deal, Mathis has booked the Palace Theater for a May 17 gig, and signed the equally soulful Billionaires as opening act.