Getting the Silver Ball rolling 

When music writers described her as “the bastard love child of Siouxsie Sioux and Karen O,” Emily “ES” Pitcher — frontwoman for the San Francisco band The New Up — had never heard of those singers.

“It’s really interesting to me that the people I’m compared to, I’m not influenced by,” says Pitcher, whose favorite singer is Billie Holliday. “For me, it’s really about finding my own voice. I used to write a lot of poetry, so I find my voice and rhythm through my words.”

The poet turned lyricist is responsible for tracks that the Chicago Reader says “move with a seething, aggressive kind of dream logic” — she and guitarist Noah Reid write the majority of the band’s lyrics. 

On Wednesday, The New Up brings its psychedelic indie rock to The Independent as part of The Silver Ball, a show presented by Biss Entertainment, a San Francisco-based artist-management company that books local acts of varied genres. The concert is a benefit for the Blue Bear School of Music, a nonprofit based in The City.

Other local bands in Wednesday’s lineup are Bernadette, Crackerjack Highway and M80 Mailbox, with DJ Jack Frost spinning between sets.

The Silver Ball is the final hometown show of the year for The New Up, which released the album “Gold” on Oct. 26.

Pitcher — who now goes by the cooler initials “ES” and not the “Little House on the Prairie”-sounding Emily Pitcher — grew up in a music-loving family in Chicago. For years, she was the lone dancer of the bunch, until she picked up a guitar and later a spot behind the microphone for Irish rock band The Drovers.

“The first gig I ever did was a sold-out show at the House of Blues,” Pitcher says. “It was like the universe said, ‘OK, this is what you’re going to do.’ I started phasing out of dance and put all my time into singing and playing the guitar.”

When she came to San Francisco, she spread her love of music by teaching at Blue Bear.

“It’s the only school of its kind in San Francisco. It’s a really cool community, and I’m glad there’s a place like it,” says Pitcher, who no longer teaches but continues to take lessons there. “If you want to play an instrument, you should be able to — no matter what. I’m happy to be putting proceeds to Blue Bear to keep that hope alive and ticking.”

All of the artists and groups involved in The Silver Ball are affiliated with the school. New Up flautist Hawk West currently teaches there.

Blue Bear Executive Director David Roche calls it the “Original School of Rock.” It was founded by the band Wolfgang & Strauss in 1971.

Proceeds from the inaugural Silver Ball will help Blue Bear continue mobile studio programs that bring music to children and teens unable to attend Blue Bear classes at its Fort Mason Center location. 

Patrons are encouraged to buy tickets before the show, and they will be entered in a raffle, with prizes such as dinner for two, holiday beverages at local breweries, music lessons with performers and unique clothing.
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shaughey@sfexaminer.com

IF YOU GO
The Silver Ball

Presented by Biss Entertainment
Where: The Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.
When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday
Tickets: $12 to $14
Contact: (415) 771-1422, www.theindependentsf.com

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Sarah Haughey

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