R.E.M. is that rarity: a poised rock band. They shred cerebrally, wail monarchically, politicize religiously. Perhaps they’re so composed because they’re confident of the broad impact they’ve had on alternative rock; in the ’80s, they were some of the first crazy kids to slip post-punk into the water. Patti Smith, Calexico, Throwing Muses with Kristin Hersh, and about 20 other artists know it, too, and will honor them at The Music of R.E.M., a benefit for the American Symphony Orchestra, Church Street School for Music and Art, and the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. Ten bucks says Kimya Dawson snags “Nightswimming” and mewls it into a polka.
Wed., March 11, 8 p.m., 2009