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The Entrance Band

Filed under: Music
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Note to all those groups enjoying noble obscurity but who secretly aspire to arena-rock grandeur: never put out an album as bleakly, terrifyingly existential as Entrance’s 2007 effort Prayer of Death. The indie underground, which cherishes lo-fi idiosyncrasies, will be largely unforgiving when eventually you do reach for the brass ring. As evidence, witness reaction to the evolution of Entrance from the Chicago-based solo freak-folk and blues project of Guy Blakeslee to the Entrance Band, an LA power trio which also features superstar bassist Paz Lenchantin (A Perfect Circle, Zwan, Queens of the Stone Age) and drummer Derek W. James. Signed to Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace! label—and running with the likes of Devendra Banhart—the solo artist Entrance played raw, morbid outsider blues, and Prayer of Death’s hippie meditations on mortality matched the mood of a freaked out country during the Bush era. On the trio’s self-titled debut a decidedly more polished concept emerges—big and sweeping, recalling ‘80s U2 or ‘90s alternative rock—especially on “M.L.K.,” a song whose sincere political rhapsody is moving and naive but also kind of old news, with lyrics like: “Hey there’s a reason I sing / because I want to hear freedom ring / I’ll remind you all of one more thing / remember Martin Luther King.” The album’s crisp production and grander scale was met by fans and critics with a mix of confusion and begrudging acceptance, but mostly because an underground hero dared to clean up (I should mention it fared much better with mainstream critics perhaps hearing Entrance for the first time). Live, the Entrance Band’s menace returns with crashing stoner-rock grooves and psychedelic blues wails, and reports from the road suggest that this new rhythm section just might be the best thing to happen to Blakeslee’s blues after all. Brooklyn’s mystical trio Lights (Drag City) opens the show.

—greg gannon

9pm. Soundlab, 110 Pearl St. (bigorbitgallery.org/soundlab). $10.