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A surreal experience, almost as if watching history - when you know you shouldn't blink because you'll miss something important. That was Friday July 20th in a sweaty room filled with teen to twenty somethings: the night I saw Silverchair for the first time in concert.

I treked up to Seattle to see the Australian band perform at the Showbox Theater. With a slew of hits since the 1995 grunge album 'Frogstomp,' the band released its fifth album 'Young Modern' this week. The room that night was filled with old friends, new friends and a common love for original songwriting and daring deliveries.

The young band has sold more than six million albums by the oldest trick in the book - raw talent.

The night was a no frills-occasion: No elaborate stage set-ups, no backup dancers, no fire, no acrobatics and no flying over the audience on a rope and pully system, although that was pretty cool when I saw KISS.

It felt like an open-mic night in a small college town. People took pictures of the band without getting thrown out by security. And frontman/guitarist Daniel Johns connected with every soul in that room. It was a good concert. I almost bought the group's $50 sweatshirt. That good.

Johns' vocal range - from a raspy growl to a falsetto sweet sound - cut through the mix as the band wailed on their instruments. One fan came up on stage and proposed to his girlfriend.

The band was smart, genuine and seemed pretty content playing the 1939 mid-sized venue. Johns talked of his wife, pop-superstar Natalie Imbruglia, tenderly and told long jokes while the band members used their instruments to make background music.

I've seen many concerts in my day. I know a good show when I see one. Aerosmith at the Gorge Amphitheater was incredible; the band glowed as the sun set behind the mountains. Singer Steven Tyler paraded into the audience and I lost my shoe in the excitement.

Blues prodigy Jonny Lang performing at Music Millenium - where I first saw him - sent shivers up my spine. He played a guitar like nothing I had ever seen before. He wasn't that bad looking either.

Music is important to me. Growing up, no one in my family played instruments or sang anything besides 'Happy Birthday.' My dad said that the only thing he can play is the radio. But I feel like I understand musicians, probably because I am one.

I found out at a young age what was important to me: Writing and music. I'm lucky that I can combine them both. And I'm thrilled that for $25 bucks I got some pointers from Silverchair.

As my band Macadam releases our first full-length CD next month I can only hope that our lyrics make people think; our live show gets people to dance; and our music makes people smile.

Nicole DeCosta, formerly of both Lake Oswego and West Linn and now of Portland, writes for both the Lake Oswego Review and the West Linn Tidings in addition to her duties putting together the Homes section for both papers. She also is the lead singer for her band Macadam. For more information on the band, visit the Web site

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