Menthol's last show in town was Thursday, October 10th at the Blind Pig. The band Punchdrunk opened first. I got to the Pig part way through Punchdrunk's set and once I heard them wished that I'd hurried up and gotten there earlier. They were really excellent: lots of bass (to give you an idea of how much bass there could be all three bands that night had every drum in their kit miked up) and a well varied selection of tempos and melodies.
After Punchdrunk came the band Killcreek. Usually opening bands are ordered worst to best, but apparently not always. To be fair there were extenuating circumstances: two weeks previous they changed drummer, they fell ill, and they hadn't played together since then.
Once my ears had recovered from Killcreek (they were quite loud for what they were(n't)) the time for appetizers was over; the main course and dessert took the stage. The four man Menthol was there: Colin on drums, Joel on the bass and on backing vocals (again, like their free show at MattFest Joel didn't sing on the new songs), Balthazar on guitar and vocals, and Mark on guitar and, as it turned out, entertainer for the crowd. Here's how the show went:
At the show a friend learned that Punchdrunk and Menthol were playing in Charleston (about 50 miles away) the next night. After talking about it for a minute we decided that we would try to hear Punchdrunk's entire set tomorrow, in Charleston. We probably would have gone except that it wasn't Charleston IL, 50 miles away, it was Charleston SC, 500 miles away.
Actually I'm not sure where they played, IL or SC, I can't find "The Dungeon" in either. The source for "SC" was a show listing that placed the Blind Pig in Indiana, so I don't trust them too much.
PS: Now I'm totally confused: the day after the show, where ever it was, the menthol pages were accessed from Charleston SC. But a listing of local shows listed Menthol as playing an all ages show in Charleston IL.
On Friday 9/6/96 Menthol played in a free concert in West Side Park in Champaign given in honor of Hum (another local band that has made good, although I don't like their music very much--I feel it has no shape). Menthol played just before Hum, at the onset of night. Menthol started without testing the mic levels, and that coupled with an idiot at the console who wasn't paying attention meant that for most of the first song you couldn't hear a single lyric unless you listened very carefully or could to lip-read Balthazar. After the vocals were pushed up to a proper level the concert was great, including the new guitarist Mark Baldwin. Here was the playlist:
The Menthol show that, by virtue of its greatness, started this website was August 1st, 1996 at the Blind Pig. This was even more powerful a show than the last two times I had seen them there. In this show Joel played an extended introduction to Briefcase Full of Cash that Colin joined into with exquisite precision. Also they played several new songs whose lyrics I couldn't catch well enough to say much about except that one was about a tryst in a motel room that referred back to the song Walk of Shame with lyrics about "Right there and riding on me".