The New Up: It’s time for a musical revolution

The New Up
Field of dreams: The New Up’s Emily Pitcher and Noah Reid want a musical revolution.

“Be careful what you wish for, once you’ve opened up the door;
There’s no turning back now, pack your bags, it’s time to go.”
From “Future is Now” by The New Up

A not-so-funny thing happened before The New Up’s album release performance: Donald Trump was elected president.

The San Francisco band had a rehearsal on the Wednesday after the election, with the hometown performance slated for Saturday.

“The rehearsal was like a weird therapy,” The New Up’s Emily Pitcher said. “We were so excited about the album and then we felt so deflated.”

The band went ahead with the show in San Francisco, but elected to delay the release of a full-length album, “Tiny Mirrors,” to Feb. 3, when a collective despair might have settled and folks are ready to take action.

“If there’s any silver lining there’s an opportunity for a musical revolution to ignite,” Pitcher said. “It’s been so long since there’s been a musical revolution where artists stand up against social injustice.”

Started by Pitcher and Noah Reid, both guitarists and vocalists, The New Up has released three EPs since 2008. It took a new approach for “Tiny Mirrors,” writing 30 songs before pairing them down to 12 for what Reid calls a concept album.

“It’s a cohesive story about living in society,” Reid said. “It’s really up to us individually to have the strength to overcome the people who are trying to control what we do.

“We are telling a story of someone living in modern-day society and having to deal with the interpersonal experiences we all have every day. And also having to deal with the more macro dealing with the government leaders and business and all the people who you can’t escape on a daily basis.”

The songwriters were prescient. They wanted to make music with a message in the vein of Bob Marley or U2, and their timeliness makes it more powerful.

“We couldn’t believe how poignant and significant all the songs were to the results of the election,” Pitcher said.

The couple met at a Phish concert in Deer Creek, Indiana. By happenstance, they had parked their cars close to each other. Reid noticed Pitcher sitting alone, playing guitar. After some persistence, Reid enticed Pitcher to join his group of guitar-playing friends.

Reid and Pitcher fortuitously live in an affordable home in San Francisco, while the three other band members — Hawk West (automation), Nick Massaro (bass), Art McConnell (drums) — live across the bridge in Oakland.  Inspired by groups such as Radiohead and the Talking Heads, The New Up describes its sound as “electro pop garage rock revival.”

Locally, it has made friends and fans at shows over the years at an upstairs hippie-friendly venue on Lake Tahoe’s south shore, the Divided Sky. It also has played at Reno’s Freight House at Ace’s Ballpark.

“Yes, we knocked it out of the park,” Reid said.

The New Up headlined a show Dec. 17 at The Saint in Reno.

ABOUT Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons
Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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