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Feb 12th
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Begging for Change

music_TheEntranceBandThe Entrance Band has a message behind the mayhem

Last September I previewed the Amazing Baby show at The Crepe Place, and the day of the concert my editor gave me a heads up to get there early and check out the opener—The Entrance Band. Luckily I followed that advice, as the psychedelic threesome turned out to be one of the most energetic live rock acts I’ve come across in a while. Was that Paz Lenchantin (of A Perfect Circle and Zwan fame) on bass?

Before last year’s self-titled release as The Entrance Band, the moniker “Entrance” was more or less a pseudonym for Guy Blakeslee, the vocalist, guitarist and frontman/spokesperson for the group that’s performing at the Brookdale Lodge on Tuesday, Feb. 16. “People used to come up to me after shows—actually, they still do—and yell ‘Hey Entrance!’ to get my attention,” Blakeslee remembers. In fact, though its membership has remained constant since its inception, Entrance released three albums (in 2003, 2004, and 2006) before deciding to add the ‘band’ qualifier last year.

Entrance Band’s three core members—Blakeslee, Lenchantin, and drummer Derek James—have been playing music together for roughly seven years now, and have clearly developed great chemistry over that time. “It’s like playing so tight that you can play loose—improvising within structure,” the singer explains. “At least one of us is always challenging the others to do new things in every song and every set.” And interestingly enough, that relationship partially evolved out of the dissolution of Billy Corgan’s post-Smashing Pumpkins supergroup Zwan.

“I was the youngest person hanging around this group of older musicians with similar taste in music,” says Blakeslee of his time in Chicago’s rock community. “I started playing at this open mic night kind of thing at one of the local venues with David Pajo’s (of Zwan) band Papa M, and that’s how I started playing with Paz.”

Before Chicago, however, Blakeslee was a Baltimore punk rocker, actively involved in the local DIY movement. “I was 13 or 14 and started playing in bands, and since we were too young to go to bars we started getting access to places to put on shows; some guys even started venues that lasted for a few years,” he explains. “It was a grass roots kind of thing, really about creating our own cultures.”

Years later, that same sort of counterculture attitude is still apparent in songs like the activist-tinged track “M.L.K.,” which Blakeslee admits he is often questioned about. In fact, he has so much to say when asked about the song that our chat becomes more of a rambling—yet impassioned—monologue on subjects I haven’t even broached. However, Blakeslee is clear on one thing: though there may be a black President, he warns, “Don’t be fooled, the dream has not come.”

If nothing else, the man has a real, genuine passion for social justice that he’s now mining in the Entrance Band. “I wanted to convey a certain relation to [MLK], and I was working on how to articulate that for years,” relates Blakeslee. “It’s about making real change happen in the world.”

Blakeslee is the kind of guy who could be living in Santa Cruz, hanging out on lower Pacific Avenue and fitting in fine—both fashionably and ideologically. But despite his dissatisfaction with the current state of the world, he says his job as a musician has actually made him more optimistic. “Being in a band and traveling to every state, I get to see how people live,” he says. “There’s a real progressive undercurrent that’s taking over this country, and I get to see it first hand.”

 


The Entrance Band plays at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, at the Brookdale Lodge, 11570 Hwy 9, Brookdale. Tickets are $12 in advance. For more information call 338-1300 or go to folkyeah.com.
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Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

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