Safari Sam's, August 3

By Rena Kosnett

Entrance are not who you think they are. They are not a quiet, mellow trio nipping at the heels of the psych-folk pack mule, despite their long hair, skinny limbs, pale skin and bare feet (which make them look like they're on their way to see the California country line-up at Topanga Days). As their set on Friday confirmed, they are thoroughly guns-blazing, balls-out rock n' roll. How such a full-throttle wailing voice can come out of such a slim young man is a mystery, but the ferocity with which Guy Blakeslee ripped into songs off his 2006 rock opera album Prayer of Death managed to get me head-banging unconsciously — I didn't realize what I was doing until I hit the guy behind me.

Photos by Rena Kosnett

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I went in blind to see Entrance play. I hadn't given them much of a chance, maybe because they use the word “Blues” in their song titles. It always makes me think of that scene in Ghost World where Steve Buscemi and his date are at a club and she says “Oh, if you like authentic blues, you'll love Blueshammer.” Crinnggge. But Blakeslee's not playing the “Pickin' Cotton Blues.”

Besides keeping his vocals quite lovely while basically screaming, Blakeslee also worked it with his Vox box, and melted my face playing upside-down guitar, wielding a right-handed Fender Cyclone upside-down with his left hand. Bassist Paz Lenchantin, formerly of A Perfect Circle, deftly plucked at her bass, not only with her fingers, but also used a bow and ran a tambourine against her strings for a few songs. Drummer Derek “Wheels” James hit his kit so viciously that his sticks broke, repeatedly. Even the grizzled, bearded sound-check guy perched stage right dropped his jaw when James and Blakeslee slammed into “Grim Reaper Blues,” the song I currently cannot get out of my head.

The music has echoes of Hendrix and Townshend, but mainly because of the urgency and desperation in their style. Entrance played like they might never live to see another stage, fitting considering much of the lyrics on Prayer of Death are focused on impending mortality.

That album, by the way: it's very good. But seeing Entrance live made me hysterical. This group is now going to be the beacon of hope I firmly point to whenever I hear a naysayer mention there's nothing really impressive these days. As my friend Carolyn said on our way out, “Those kids could change the world if they wanted to.” Here's hoping they don't pussy out.

Click here to download an mp3 of “Pretty Baby” from Prayer of Death.

All photos by Rena Kosnett

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