Wes Anderson rocks!
The director's stellar soundtracks inspire a one-of-a-kind free event for you!

• The Autumn Defense
• Kevin O'Donnell with Andrew Bird
• Abstract Giants
• The Safes

When: Wednesday, Dec. 15
Where: Metro

Tickets: Free! Sign up for RedEye Rewards and we'll mail you a pair of free tickets.

By Matt McGuire

A funny thing happened after the metromix staff watched "The Life Aquatic" trailer for the 25th time. We realized we're full-blown junkies when it comes to movies directed by Wes Anderson. And we're hopelessly addicted to the soundtracks too. We love how Cat Stevens' "Here Comes My Baby" plays over the scenes of Max Fischer wooing Rosemary Cross in "Rushmore." And the flashback to Margaret Tenenbaum's Bohemian youth set to the Ramones' "Judy Is a Punk" in "The Royal Tenenbaums"? Pure genius.

Anderson is like the modern-day John Hughes, who wrote and directed the flicks, then assembled the excellent soundtracks for "Pretty in Pink" and "Some Kind of Wonderful." (Yes, we know, there's much less teen angst in Anderson's movies, but you get the idea.)

From the few hints offered in the "The Life Aquatic" trailer, we can tell Anderson has another winner on his hands with songs by David Bowie, Devo and New Order. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Anderson has once again cast Bill Murray and Owen Wilson in starring roles.

That's when it hit us: We can't wait until "The Life Aquatic" opens Christmas Day for our next Anderson fix. We need something -- anything -- to hold us over. We need to hear the songs live. Now. (OK, we'll settle for a few weeks from now.) And who better to perform them than Chicago's finest bands?

Lucky for us, the bands are equally obsessed with Wes Anderson.

The Autumn Defense--with Pat Sansone and John Stirratt from Wilco--jumped at the chance, though they did have one requirement: We had to let them perform Love's "Alone Again Or" from the "Bottlerocket" soundtrack.

No problem.

Kevin O'Donnell--the drummer in Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire and a composer who's scored productions for Redmoon Theater and Mad Shak Dance Company--is coming and he's bringing Bird along for a few songs. O'Donnell requested dibs on Mark Mothersbaugh's score from "Rushmore." Done.

Poppy garage rockers The Safes, still riding high from the lavish praise Rolling Stone magazine heaped on them last month, were quick to sign on too. And, yes, they had one request: Could they cover David Bowie's "Queen Bitch" from "The Life Aquatic"? You bet.

Hip-hop group Abstract Giants were quick to note there isn't a single rap song on any of Anderson's soundtracks. How did they know? Because they're all fans, and they were anxious to put their own spin on a few tunes.

" 'Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard' has a great rhythm, so we're looking forward to covering that," says guitarist Cary Kanno. "And if you slow down and add a little distortion to the guitar riff from the Kinks' ["Nothin' in this World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout that Girl"], it's almost like a Rage Against the Machine song." Sounds good.

So it's set. All four bands will play songs from all four of Anderson's movies. They'll even play a few of their own songs, which we're sure you'll want to hear too. All you have to do is show up Dec. 15 at Metro (3730 N. Clark St.). We've even picked up the ticket price -- it's a free concert!

Matt McGuire is the metromix music producer.

Originally published Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2004.