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Hey, um... do you guys know Stairway to Heaven?

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There are days when having a song stuck in your head can almost make you crazy. And there are other times -- say, for instance, when that song is something you like, rather than Achy Breaky Heart or Don't Worry, Be Happy -- when it can almost be a pleasant experience.

Such is the nature of the earworm -- for better or (the vast majority of the time) worse, it's an aural/cranial intrusion that becomes the relentless soundtrack of your day.

I mention the earworm concept here for two reasons: First, the new MuchMoreMusic series Wedding Band is necessarily full of tunes that have limitless inner-soundtrack potential; and second, the show itself might very well qualify as the TV-show version of an earworm.

It isn't brilliant or groundbreaking, but once you've seen it, it's very likely that you won't be able to get it out of your head.

Wedding Band is a lightweight but instantly appealing comedy/drama about a quartet of Seattle dudes who once had rock-star ambitions but have since downscaled their dream to being the best darned wedding/bar mitzvah/birthday party band in the northwest Washington state area.

The band -- aptly named Mother of the Bride -- consists of four fairly stock rock-band characters: Tommy (Brian Austin Green), lead vocalist and perpetually single pretty boy; Eddie (Peter Cambor), lightning-fingered guitarist and wife-whipped father of two; Barry (Derek Miller), drummer, wild man and inevitable Jack Black clone; and new guy Stevie (Harold Perrineau), talented African-Canadian session musician who's hungry for the camaraderie of a live-performing band.

The pilot episode opens with a montage of the band playing a variety of odd-themed events, augmented by a voice-over that explains -- to band newbie Stevie, as well as to the audience -- some of the basic rules of the wedding-band game.

These are important trade secrets, like: always spot the guy who has no chance of hooking up at the wedding -- make him an honorary member of the band, and he'll sneak drinks to you all night long; Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive must be played, because it's an anthem for every woman who's ever had her heart broken, and when you play it, find the female who's singing along loudest and you've found your post-gig hookup.

The guys are good at making the most of their small-scale stardom, but the lingering problem is how small that stardom currently is. Mother of the Bride is basically a B-list band on the Seattle wedding scene, and they won't become A-list until they impress the area's top event planner, Roxie Rutherford (Melora Hardin, formerly of The Office).

The opportunity to win her over arrives in the form of an unexpected visit from Tommy's ex-girlfriend. He thinks she wants to get back together; in fact, she's there to announce that she's getting married and she wants Tommy's band to play the wedding, which is being organized by Rutherford.

What follows, of course, is a frantic nail-biter of a gig in which Tommy's bruised romantic ego is distinctly at odds with his ambitious plans for the band. It's fun to watch, thanks mostly to the capable and credible manner in which the series' four lead actors hit all the right notes, both musically and comedically.

There's nothing new in Wedding Band, really -- if you've seen Wedding Crashers or The Wedding Singer, you'll recognize all the gags -- but this is a series that plays those oldies with a whimsical style that will leave you humming happily along as its jokes and songs are replayed, over and over, in an endless loop in that familiar place inside your head. Twitter: @BradOswald


Wedding Band

Starring Brian Austin Green and Harold Perrineau

Tonight at 9


3 1/2 stars out of 5

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 10, 2012 G3

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