To warm up the crowd that would soon be showered with love by the large, jangly gypsy crew, The Entrance Band smiled out a little psychedelic rock on the hot summer afternoon. The Los Angeles-based trio’s cranked-up sound proved that big things can also come in small packages.
The group’s frontman and guitarist Guy Blakeslee’s chugging riffs are colored with LSD, and his echo-y croons waver above thick bass lines. Bassist Paz Lenchantin added those bottom-level thuds; she joined the group in 2006 after leaving A Perfect Circle. Her small Argentinian frame swaying as she played the four-string, which was outfitted with a red rose situated at the tuning nobs, assuredly stole more than one hipster’s heart. The band’s aesthetic is neo-grunge hipster, but the tunes would appeal to fans of Imaad Wasif, Black Lips and Black Mountain.
The Entrance Band
All photos by Mark Benson Photography
Despite less-than-ideal circumstances to see the rockers—a dark, crowded bar at 1 a.m. would have been more appropriate —they precisely unfolded tracks from the 2009 self-titled release The Entrance Band, the first album since Blakeslee changed the band’s name from Entrance. They also played a cover by Love, called “A House is Not a Motel.” When Blakeslee told the audience this, it was one of the few times he engaged with them.
The same cannot be said for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. Within a minute of launching into the first song of the set, “40 Day Dream,” frontman Alex Ebert was jumping off the stage to cross the gap to the barricade so that he could embrace the crowd. Ebert even stood on the barricade, supported by adoring fans on one side and security guards on the other. For Ebert, and singer Jade Castrinos, who would later join the crowd with hand-holding and hugs, there was no separation between them and the audience—what physical space there might have been was hurdled by the love-filled songs that helped catapult the band to stardom.
The 9-piece moved through “Carries On,” with Ebert chanting “One word, one word/ Carries on/ One smile, one smile/ Carries on/ One love, one love/ Carries on.” Then Castrinos had her turn on the mic, singing “Fire Water (River of Love).” Between verses, Castrinos wanted to join the crowd but wasn’t daring enough to make the four-foot jump to the ground; with pleading, sad, puppy-eyes, she asked to be helped down, so we did. Afterward, she danced and sung with the people in the front.
A few songs later, guitarist Christian Letts took center stage and sang “Child.” In March 2011, the band backed up Ebert on a solo release titled Alexander. And it is rumored they will do the same for efforts by Letts and Castrinos in the future, before returning to the studio for an ESM0s album.
Ebert performed “Truth” off of Alexander, and asked the crowd to be mindful of the lyrics because they were the most important part. And if the audience continued to listen carefully to the next tune, “Desert Song,” they might gather that it was referencing Utah’s Monument Valley.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros
Ebert was last in Salt Lake City to perform a solo show at Urban Lounge to benefit Peaceful Uprising; the event coincided with Tim DeChristopher’s first day of trial (Read an interview with Ebert here). So it is no surprise that, just two days after DeChristopher’s sentencing, Ebert spoke on acting in civil disobedience. He said DeChristopher was a hero and was inspirational and he “invites you to fuck it up, because if you lose that, you lose the whole plot.” Then Peace Up’s Ashley Anderson delivered a message from DeChristopher: that he was still with them in spirit and the fight was just beginning, and so on.
Ebert then asked the crowd to quiet down, which, more or less, they did, before he sang “Lean on Me” without a microphone. Although the crowd faltered on the third verse (who really remembers that one, anyway?), Paz Lenchantin—The Entrance Band—cranked up the melody on the piano and the whole band joined in for a “feel good” moment and highlight of the set.
The show ended with crowd-favorite, and arguably ESM0s best song, “Home” followed by “Om Nashi Me.” In a previous interview, Castrinos said the term means “Oh infinite nakedness.” The large gypsy crew offered that prayer to the crowd, encouraging them to leave with only love in their hearts, to end an evening of such “love,” made possible only through music.