Glancing at Ossum Possum’s Facebook page, one might wonder if the rhyming-named troupe is some sort of cult. With descriptors like “illustrious possum,” “higher vibrational song” and “prismatic trans-dimensional being” peppering their posts, it could actually be. Either that or Ossum Possum is a youngblood Las Vegas garage band based on a forthcoming comic book.
Saturday night’s show at the Beat began on a vaguely acoustic wavelength, with just a hint of Syd Barrett and the harmonic neo-psychedelia of The Church. But there’s an edge under the pastoral tones, such as on “Wendigo Psychosis,” a song pretty much about eating people.
Things rocked-up more as Ossum Possum’s set went on, with frontman Germs (Jeremy Luker) switching from mandolin to guitar. Frequently he took on a stance that bordered on possessed, eyes rolled and head thrown back, as if actually hollering from inside the mythical marsupial’s fantastic universe.
Ossum Possum’s music isn’t overly trippy—it’s not MGMT, Jagwar Ma or even Tame Impala. But it does generate plenty of aural landscape. Keyboard tones and software squelches by Aries Kuykendall lend a Get Up Kids-style uplift, along with demented carnival noise reminiscent of The Rock*A*Teens. The multi-instrumentalist also pulled out a melodica (the breath-powered keyboard) for a hint of Gorillaz, another comic-book grounded outfit. The band was rounded out with Shawn Flanagan (electric guitar), Ian Garcia (bass guitar) and Kyle Deignan (drums).
Ossum Possum opened the triple-bill night, which also featured Moonboots and High Noon Narrative. The crowd at the Beat was on the sparse side that night, which is a shame. The quality show was free and pints of Sierra Nevada were just $2—a punk-rock deal if ever there was one in modern Vegas. Astral travel was complimentary, too.