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Past Shows

  1. Menthol, with Killcreek and Punchdrunk (10/10/96)
  2. Menthol at Mattfest in West Side Park (9/6/96)
  3. Menthol at the Pig (8/1/96)

Menthol, with Killcreek and Punchdrunk

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:

  1. Francis Scott Key, during which a speaker on the left rattled ominously.
  2. A new song.
  3. Another new song. I heard "7's on 5's".
  4. Briefcase Full of Cash, a great bass song where every stanza is underlined by a long bass chord.
  5. Dry Heaves.
  6. Codes & Ciphers.
  7. Bedheaded, Redeyed and Bewildered, during which that rattling speaker gave up completely. While Balthazar borrowed a speaker from one of the opening bands, Mark, who had been playing guitar unassumingly in his corner with his back half towards the audience, leaped to the mike to patient the crowd. He and the drummer played what Mark introduced as the "Downtown Funk Jam".
  8. A new song.
  9. Another new song. I heard "thunder" at the end of the refrain.
  10. Stress is Best.
  11. Another new song whose chorus I'm pretty sure was "Father of the Bride".
  12. U.S.A. Capable, after which everyone but Mark left the stage. Mark went back into his showman role. He was going to continue the funk but one of the other members cut off the amp, so instead he played G cords and chitchatted until the others returned for...
  13. God Bless the Child, one of the great songs off the album Balthazar, Joel and Colin recorded under the name Mother.

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.

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Menthol at Mattfest in West Side Park

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:

  1. U.S.A. Capable.
  2. A new song that ended in a jangle of chords. I've dubbed it "Echo Echo" since I think that is the chorus, although it might have been "Asshole" for all I know.
  3. Another new song, a fast one.
  4. Stress is Best.
  5. A new song.
  6. A new song I liked that I've dubbed "Only Right There."
  7. Bedheaded, Redeyed and Bewildered.
  8. A new song, a midpaced one I've dubbed "Lay down (on the road/on the stars)".
  9. Francis Scott Key.
  10. Perfect Spirals.
  11. Briefcase Full of Cash.
  12. Codes & Ciphers.
  13. Dry Heaves.
This long list made for nearly a hour of nonstop music. Interestingly it included no songs from their first album. Maybe this was because Mark hadn't learned them yet, or maybe (which would be to my regret) Menthol is moving away from those songs. (Afternote: they're aren't: at the next show I saw they did do one song from Gold Record LP.)

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Menthol a the Pig

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".

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