Get up to The New Up on Friday at the Divided Sky
Tahoe shows always represent a high point for an aptly named band, the New Up, which returns to the Divided Sky in Meyers on Friday, Feb. 29.
“It seems that people appreciate us more in Tahoe,” lead singer ES (Emily) Pitcher said before a previous appearance. “We just really appreciate the Divided Sky. It’s a great venue, and they’ve always made us feel welcome, and the crowds are great. They are good people there.”
Despite Pitcher’s dreadlocks and the band being based in San Francisco, the New Up insists it’s not a jam band.
“There is a great local band contingency in San Francisco,” Pitcher said. “And we’re trying to hop on to that movement. The problem is that we don’t really belong with the jam band scene, which is prevalent there. We’re more of a rock band with a pop sensibility, kind of a threaded sound throughout.
“San Francisco is very challenging.”
The New Up’s origins don’t exactly help dispel that myth: Pitcher met guitarist Noah Reid at a Phish show in Chicago in 2002.
“We laugh about that,” Pitcher told Action. “We wouldn’t call Phish a very big influence on our music.”
The band’s influences, however, point to a sound that’s quite different. Pitcher cited The Beatles and Talking Heads as two examples, and the New Up takes its name from a Radiohead song, “Down is the New Up.”
“When we heard that, we knew that was it,” Pitcher said. “Up-tempo music from the down side of rock.”
Others have invoked the likes of Pavement, TV on the Radio, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in describing the New Up’s sound. While the band sometimes plays covers, the emphasis is on songwriting and original material.
“We all write,” Pitcher said. “Some of it is individual effort, but most of it is collaborative. That’s where I feel we develop our best stuff.”
The New Up began six years ago with Pitcher, Reid on lead guitar, and Hawk West on automation and flute. Drummer Jack McFadden and Dain Dizzazo on bass round out the lineup.
The New Up’s first CD, “Palace of Industrial Hope,” is available at the band’s Web site, http://www.thenewup.com. The New Up is working on a new album, due out this year.
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