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GET YER COLD OATMEAL!

Apparently, more of you listen to The Mountain (92.9 FM) than anyone suspected. How else to explain the sudden local popularity of Denver's The Fray, whose song "Over My Head (Cable Car)" is currently in heavy rotation on the station? The band was originally scheduled to perform at Club Congress on Sunday, Feb. 12, but due to ticket demand, the show has been moved across the street, to the Rialto Theatre, on the same night.

I suppose it makes sense that The Fray, the latest in a long line of what I like to call "innocuous rock" bands, might get huge. There's a reason why The Fray is often compared to Coldplay and Counting Crowes: All of these bands are inoffensive, and often bland as a result. That's not to say that each of them doesn't have their moments, but when you're largely this palatable, it makes sense that the masses will follow.

Each song on The Fray's Epic debut, How to Save a Life (2005), has a sameness to it that makes the album flow by almost unnoticed. Each song is sung passionately by Isaac Slade, in a voice that reminds of the overly earnest Adam Duritz of Counting Crows; each features piano as a primary instrument, which only enhances this sincerity; aside from a ballad here and there, each is mid-tempo and includes a sweepingly dramatic chorus; and each is about as exciting as a bowl of cold oatmeal. If you've ever wanted to feel like a character on an hour-long drama on The WB, putting this album on as background music is a pretty good start.

This early, all-ages show begins at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12, with openers Mat Kearney and Cary Brothers (a dude, not siblings). Advance tickets are available for $8 at the Rialto box office or online at hotelcongress.com (where a $1 service fee is added). The Rialto Theatre is located at 318 E. Congress St. For more information, call 622-8848 or 740-1000.


NORTHERN EXPOSURE

Newfoundland's Great Big Sea, who combine traditional sea chanties with a more modern pop sensibility, are superstars in Canada, having taken all of their albums to gold-selling status, and most of them to multi-platinum. Most of those albums comprise in equal measure original songs and the band's modern spin on traditional songs. But when it came time to record 2004's Something Beautiful (Zoe), the band had so many original songs penned that they decided to save most of the traditional songs for a future release. That "future release" was 2005's The Hard and the Easy (Zoe), which is a collection of cover songs native to Newfoundland. The largely Celtic-influenced songs are not nearly as stodgy as one might suspect. There's a whimsical song about falling in love with a mermaid, rambunctious drinking songs, songs about pirates and a counting song that recalls nothing so much as "The 12 Days of Christmas." The band often reminds of The Pogues, albeit with a bit of the edge dulled, but no less fun.

Great Big Sea perform two sets in an all-ages show at 8 p.m. next Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St. Reserved seats are available for $18 at the venue's box office or online at rialtotheatre.com. For more details, call 740-1000.


ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Two country legends in as many weeks: Last week saw a performance by George Jones at the Tucson Convention Center Music Hall, and this week, Willie Nelson--who seems to perform at a different venue each time he comes to town--will set up shop for a night at the Diamond Entertainment Center in the Desert Diamond Casino. The bad news (for those who don't already have tickets) is that the show is already sold out. The good news is that March 7 will bring a chance to catch up with Willie in the form of You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker (Lost Highway), a fine collection of songs written by Country Music Hall of Fame songwriter Walker, as performed by fellow Hall of Famer Nelson.

Willie Nelson performs at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11. The Desert Diamond Casino is located at 1100 W. Pima Mine Road. Call 323-2799 with questions.


SWEAT SWITCH

The Tucson Weekly is proud to announce that our sponsored band at next month's South By Southwest Music Conference in Austin is The Beta Sweat. What's that? You've never heard of The Beta Sweat? Well, there's a reason for that, oh, astute local music fan. The Beta Sweat is the new name of the band formerly known as The Sweat Band.

Earlier this week, Soundbites received a statement from the band that reads, in part: "Due to our sincere disinterest in legal matters and our devout allegiance to the Bureau of Sweat, we have henceforth, on this day, February First, Two-Thousand and Six, been knighted by the Bureau as, The Beta Sweat. ... In such, we pledge our commitment to quality, integrity, individuality and the same sweat you have hereto enjoyed. Sweat as you were rock 'n' rollers."


SUBLIMELY SUCCESSFUL

The world of tribute bands is a weird one, and here's one of its weirder stories. Badfish, a band that performs nothing but the songs of Sublime--despite the fact that during its existence, Sublime only released two studio albums--is quickly becoming one of the most surprising success stories among grassroots touring bands.

Formed in Spring 2001, Badfish performed its first show at the Ocean Mist, on the shores of Matunuck, R.I., in the middle of nowhere, to a sold out crowd of 500. Since then, the group has taken the act on the road, and the results have been similar no matter where it goes--Badfish sold out five of its first seven shows in 2006.

Find out what they got when Badfish hits City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Advance tickets are available for $8 at the City Limits box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com or by calling 321-1000. They'll be $10 on the day of the show. For further details, head to calproductions.com or call 733-6262.


ON THE BANDWAGON

Though they began 19 years ago as a SoCal skate-punk band, No Use for a Name have in recent years evolved (or is it devolved?) into a standard-issue pop-punk band. Sure, Tony Sly could write genuinely catchy tunes and lyrics in his sleep that tower over most of his more simplistic peers, but when you've heard a million bands playing this stuff before, what's one more?

No Use for a Name perform an all-ages show on Monday, Feb. 13 at City Limits, 6350 E. Tanque Verde Road. Versus the World open at 7 p.m. Advance tix are available for $15 at the venue's box office, all Ticketmaster outlets, ticketmaster.com or by calling 321-1000. They'll be $17 on the day of the show. For more info, call 733-6262.

Gravel-voiced fingerpicking guitar virtuoso Leo Kottke returns to Tucson this week for a pair of performances at the Temple of Music and Art, 330 S. Scott Ave. Both shows start at 8 p.m., the first on Friday, Feb. 10, and the second on Saturday, Feb. 11. Advance tickets are available for $24, $22 and $20 at the venue's box office or by calling 622-2823. Call the same number for further details.


GOODBYE, CYNDA

Finally, we received some sad news just as we were going to press. Cynda Cated, who was an active volunteer at local underground radio station Radio Limbo, and who less than a month ago was the beneficiary of a tribute show at Solar Culture Gallery that featured Al Perry, The Pork Torta and Mankind, passed away from cancer on the evening of Monday, Feb. 6. We offer our sincerest condolences to her family and friends.

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