Breaking the boredom

Frank Soda and the Imps - Riviera Rock Room Through Saturday

By Alan Kellogg

Out of the dull and commonplace confines of heavy rock, blungeoned into boredom by a thousand musical and stage cliches flies Vancouverite Frank Soda, a man for the '80s.

The twin video screens onstage begin the proceedings with a tape of Frank watching himself on TV, to the strains of Saturday Night Getaway, walking down the street and finally, to the Riv stage for live action.

And live he is, as, with Imps Glen Gratto and Peter Crolly in tow, Frank cranks up Break The Ice, the first of a dozen opening set bonecrushers.

FRANK SODACovering his chrome-dome with chapeaux ranging from your tasteful, understated, horned baseball cap to a huge (exploding) globe, smoking pig perched on an (exploding) fireman's helmet, not to mention the selection. of x-rated sun visors, Frank deserves an award from the Canadian Haberdashery Association.

Jumping, bobbing, weaving, diving and generally bouncing into his work, Frank works hard. There is rarely an uncharged moment in this operation, and the bizarre-athletic garb the band sports serves at least two functions.

With a comics' elastic face, Frank rolls over a series of mugs from mock-menancing rock star to dumbfounded goof. Getting into his solo on Fast, Fast Relief, he jumps on top of the dance floor railing and uses a patron's drink as a slide.

The songs?

Oh yeah. The high-decibel fare is actually simple, traditional hard rock, well played by all, with honors to Soda's guitar work. Songs like Break The Ice, Raisin Rock & Roll Hell or High Time To Get High are mainstream radio rockers, no doubt best enjoyed in boogie van sound systems.

Occasionally, the lyrics show touches of Frank's stage presence. Skin Graph Baby chronicles the difficulties encountered by a would-be disco king who gets a transfer from his posterier to his face: You can imagine the chorus.

There is a good deal of thought, money and hard work that goes into all of this, and it should be rewarded.

For a good time, go down and hear Frank and the Imps this week. Lots o' laffs, good rock'n'roll and plenty of visuals. Even when the band is taking a break, the video machines entertain you. Such a deal, in these inflationary times.