It was SoulMates minus Reinhardt Melz. Chris Matthews sat behind the drum kit for the night and carried on remarkably. Not only did he take on the daunting task of substituting for the 8-armed deity named Reinhardt but he did it while battling a flu.
While at the sound check, Matthews began to shiver which alternated to feverish sweats while racked with bodyaches. This guy is a true musician following the dictum that "the show must go on."
The Star Theater is a great place for an evening of fun and music. It was built as a playhouse in 1911 which became a movie house then a burlesque house. The owner was a burlesque dancer named Candee Renee who later moved to Seattle and ran for city government. She was found dead in her bathtub. According to Toby, the current bouncer at the Star, her ghost still haunts the place. He tells good stories. One day, I will do a whole piece on the story.
But SoulMates kept ghosts in their places on Saturday night or, at least, any noise they made was drowned out by the cheering audience. Beginning with Cruisin' and on to George Gershwin's Summertime, the listeners grew more and more responsive to what SoulMates poured out to them. At the conclusion of Summertime, one guy looked at another and said incredulously, "Who are these guys???"
This wasn't the home turf of the Candlelight Cafe, so many in the audience were getting their first SoulMates treatment. A couple of old rock n' rollers hooped it up for Fly Like an Eagle and the women in the audienced shrieked for the Soulmates original Man 4 U.
"These guys are in Portland??"
"Do they play someplace regularly?"
"They are tight! How long have they been playing together?"
"That's Jay "Bird" Koder up there??!!"
These were the questions repeatedly asked by members of the audience. SoulMates have been continually referred to as the favorite band of Portland musicians but music listeners and not just musicians are starting to get acquainted. And it is about time.