Curb jerky: Local band sounds overdone

With most students at an exam or on the road, last week the Corner turned into a barren stretch of empty hang-outs. Monday night, only a handful showed up at Orbit to waste some pre-turkey drag– on beer, NBA closed-captioning, and distracted conversation.

While absently tapping their feet to the band.

Like their patchy audience, Sun-Dried Opossum came across a little preoccupied. They aren't bad musicians. In terms of technical skill, on the burdened branch of neo-hippie bands, they delivered better than most of their local peers. Their passion just seemed a tad anemic and sleepy-eyed, and the lack of energy left them skidding around, slipping on the terrain of some over-rehearsed (?) numbers.

If the Fridays after Five archival webpage (documenting all past performances) is to be believed, Sun-Dried Opossum has been together at least since 1998. Knocking beats for four years in a jam-machine can easily erode any sharp, interesting irregularities present at the beginning.

Warning: Finesse your technique too well, and that niche could become a rut.

Or, conjectures aside... maybe the guys were just tired.

I believe Sun-Dried Opossum was shooting for a ride down the rails– on the Midnight Train to Georgia, with Casey Jones at the controls. I heard what wanted to be papa's brand new bag, and Phish-fret aerobics. But overall, the hippie/soul fusion was too stylized and remote for me; at several points throughout the evening, Sun-Dried Opossum almost hit a workable groove, but took things off the burner with some confoundingly normalized guitar solos.

I don't blame them fully for my frustration: They were bound by a narrow range of stylistic limitations. It's a difficult business, mating genres. Most grafts on Woodstockrock look best floating in freakish jars of brine.

I hope when the weather gets warmer, when rodents dart for tires in renewed appeal, Sun-Dried Opossum will find inspiration. Maybe with some Nelson County spring air, a little less practice, and a fresh outlook, they can aim their sights... toward something greater, and rarer, than curb jerky.