Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra Returns to Regent Theatre Saturdays and New Year’s Eve Starting October 27

Oct 19, 2012

For those who cannot get enough of The Who, David Bowie, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Queen, you can’t get closer to the anthemic rock experience than seeing and hearing the Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra at Arlington’s Regent Theatre eight times beginning Saturday, October 27 through December 31, 2012.  URO perform electrifying, dynamically diverse renditions of the crown-jewels of ‘60s and ‘70s British Rock accompanied by a goose bump inducing light show and earth-shaking sound. As the works of Mozart and Beethoven live on in symphonies, URO is a unique and unconventional orchestra, bringing to vivid life this glorious, beloved music with uninhibited power, nuance and feeling.

The Regent Rock Xtravaganza will also present an “All-Star Jam Celebrating the Music of Jimi Hendrix” on Friday, November 16, hosted by the Thaddeus Hogarth Power Trio with Special Guests: Tomo Fujita, Julien Kasper, Marty Walsh, and Neil Itzler.

Boston premiere screenings of the restored and expanded 1965 Rolling Stones film “Charlie is My Darling” on November 5, and digitally remastered in high definition concert film “The Doors at the Bowl ‘68” on November 7 and 11, will complement the Xtravaganza’s live concerts. (Other film screenings will be announced shortly.)

The Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra is a Boston-based group of 12 singers and instrumentalists who—for close to a decade—have been committed to bringing the best of classic rock to life for those who have never had a chance to hear it live, and those wanting to relive the heyday of Epic Rock. A versatile ensemble capable of bringing off even the most intricate rock pieces with effortless ease, they perform with lighthearted humor and undeniable vocal prowess.

“A man actually came up to me in tears, nearly speechless because as a teenager he’d bought Abbey Road and the Beatles broke up the next day.” said URO drummer, Chunky A, “He thought he’d never get to hear songs from that record performed live, it was actually a dream come true for him and that’s a great feeling, to know that you’ve really connected with the audience in that way.”

The appeal of this music now crosses the generations, and many diehard URO fans have brought their kids to shows—URO lends parents instant “rock cred,” and the kids love them for it. (In fact, for the youngest of ears, there will be a special URO “Unplugged” family show on Saturday, October 27 at 10:30am.)

Among the many dozens of songs in their repertoire, URO concert spotlights include “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “Space Oddity,” “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End,” “Immigrant Song,” and the crowd-pleasing showstopper, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” (While Queen never played the whole song live—skipping the intro and playing a recording during the ‘Galileo’ section—with URO every note is sung and played live.)

The Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra (URO) will perform eight concerts—Saturdays, October 27, November 3, 10, 17, and December 15, 22, and 29 at 8pm, as well as Tuesday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve), 2012 at the historic Regent Theatre, “Arlington’s Show Place of Entertainment.” Reserved seats are $25.00.  Located at 7 Medford Street in Arlington Center (off Mass Ave)—minutes from Cambridge and Boston—the Regent is MBTA and handicap accessible with free parking across the street. For tickets and info call 781-646-4849 or visit regenttheatre.com

Sal Clemente .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 617-233-9469 Leland Stein .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), 617-694-6612


Why the URO?

At recent shows, I’ve been talking with audience members about what exactly the Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra is and why we exist. There’s such a stigma for bands which ‘cover’ other people’s music, especially among musicians and critics, that I wanted to describe to people why I don’t feel that way performing in the URO. Alan and I performed in original bands in Boston for years before we accidentally formed the URO and found ourselves on a new path as performers and creators. We actually understand that stigma and have been on the other side of it ourselves—it is strong and somewhat justified when thinking of GB (General Business) bands or ‘tribute’ acts that essentially either sell themselves as human jukeboxes, play background music at functions, or cavort about in Freddie Mercury mustaches and Kiss make-up doing their best Rich Little style impressions of people who can’t be imitated.

The URO formed organically, as did our playlist, through a series of choices we made throughout our ordeal with Andrew Lloyd Webber (long story and thanks, Sir Webber!), and as such, it has taken us a while to be able to articulate exactly what the URO is and what role we fill as the musicians and artists we consider ourselves to be. We’ve described it in several different ways over the years, but never in a way that really diminished the stigma of the words ‘cover band,’ or to a lesser degree, ‘tribute act.’

That all changed for me when we performed in Pennsylvania and a friend and former bandmate saw the URO perform over several nights. He pulled me aside after the show and said to me, “I get it.” He’s a somewhat sardonic gent but someone I really respect (I played bass for him in his band back when I was a pup), so I asked him what he was on about. “You really are like an orchestra. Just like a symphony you’re performing music live that no one’s ever going to hear the original artists play again.” That articulation of what we do immediately closed several loops in my head. He was right, of course. Orchestras are, in effect, giant ‘cover’ bands who play the music of people long dead and the music we perform is by the Mozarts, Bachs and Beethovens of rock music—bands who will never perform this music live together again.

Freddie, Keith and Entwistle are gone, as are Bonham, Harrison and Lennon. Paul continues on, but it’s certainly not the Beatles, and Bowie no longer performs live.

But their music LIVES.

And it’s important to hear this music - not just through earbuds but live, in 3-dimensions. LIVE (I’ve always found it interesting that live and live are spelled the same way).

There’s been no music revolution or revelation that has fundamentally altered what was accomplished by the Beatles, Bowie, Queen, The Who or Led Zeppelin. Their music is the wellspring from which flows much of today’s popular music. We could argue about a few others who might belong to this particular pantheon, but not really about whether any of these artists belong, or the effect that experiencing this music has on audiences across the generations.

As for the URO—we have and continue to break new ground. As crazy (and perhaps arrogant) as it sounds, there’s never really been anything like us, and as such, I don’t think that other artists or critics really know how to react.

Is it okay to like these guys? Is it okay to say that what they do is important? In a word—yes.

I’ve played in a ‘cover’ band… I lasted about a week. As one fellow musician put it - you kind of know when what you’re doing as a musician is wrong because you kind of feel dirty doing it. I’ve never felt that way performing with the URO. I know the feeling that I have when we perform is that what we are doing has a place, is important, and has value.

Rock music, just like classical music, opera and ballet has been, in a way, frozen in time at its pinnacle. One hundred years from now, this is the music that ‘orchestras’ will be performing live. I can write the most amazing song that you might ever hear, but its seed was planted by one of the artists the URO performs.

—Sal Clemente, URO Co-Founder