When Los Angeles-based psychedelic rock trio the Entrance Band plays a show, it’s a happening. Not only because band members take sound and style inspiration from the ’60s counterculture that coined the term, as they demonstrated during a short set Sunday at the new Arthur Magazine Sunday Evenings music series at McCabe’s in Santa Monica. But also because their music creates the feeling that something fresh and powerful is afoot. A potent mix of political mindedness — including a few conspiracy theories — and musical virtuosity, their songs throb and wail and strive to open minds.
The band, the brainchild of Baltimore transplant Guy Blakeslee, who has toured with friends Cat Power and Devendra Banhart as solo artist Entrance, features drummer Derek James and bassist Paz Lenchantin (A Perfect Circle, Zwan). While built on a raw ’60s-rock foundation, it also draws on blues and Eastern influences, creating a sound so fresh it’s almost experimental and yet so infectious it got the audience of nearly 150 up out of their seats and dancing.
The 40-plus-minute set featured a mix of new material and songs taken from Entrance’s three solo albums, including the most recent, 2006’s “Prayer of Death.” “Valium Blues” opens with a militaristic beat before fluidly moving between blues and Eastern European gypsy music. During what Blakeslee called the “topical song section of the evening,” he showed off his intense falsetto on psychedelic torch song “Pretty Baby.”
New songs written since the trio coalesced last year included “Still Be There Shorty,” a wild blues number with shamanistic vocals and a scrawling guitar solo, and joyous rocker “MLK,” which honors the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by urging listeners to be better, freer people.
The trio, which also plays the Silverlake Lounge the first three Thursdays in February, harks back to a time when peace and love were invoked without irony and makes a fresh argument for their power as rallying cry and musical inspiration today.