It's likely that Seattle's Aveo will play Portland again after this show, but I advise you to go see this band now. The next time Aveo plays, you may find yourself frustrated, somewhere in the back of a much larger venue, standing tip-toed because you can't see over the heads of the overzealous mob of people in front of you. You'll be thinking "Fuck, why didn't I listen to the Mercury like six months ago?" That's how good Aveo is.

With a newly recorded, Phil Ek-produced record almost set for release on Brown Records, the three-piece is riding a healthy dose of media attention and playing beautiful shows at which attendance is rapidly increasing. The band is William Wilson on guitar and vocals, Jeff MacIsaac on drums, and Michael Hudson on bass. At first, it's Wilson whom one watches, because Aveo seems to be all his. He has a quick and clean guitar style, and his vocals are full, buttery, and graveled--reminiscent of Catherine Wheel's Rob Dickinson on the low end. As the show progresses, however, one realizes that MacIsaac is what propels Aveo. He's a cool, meticulous drummer, an anchor for the band in the manner that Stewart Copeland was for the Police.

But more important, of course, are the songs themselves. Aveo is being compared to the Smiths a lot, which is undeniable, and a fine compliment. However, allow yourself to imagine instead that the Smiths had a baby. Now pretend they raised its viscera in the American Heartland (where it fell in love with everything from Neil Young to the Replacements to Hüsker Dü), but kept its brain in Great Britain throughout the 1980s (where it developed a smart aesthetic without the smugness that Morrissey and his ilk are so fond of). If that were actually to happen, Aveo might be that child. It would be smart and cool, while being wide open and sappy simultaneously. A kid that everyone would want to play with and listen to.