Imps are smashing

By Marilyn Firth

The finale was smashing - literally. The Toronto rock group, The Imps closed their appearance at Caps January 14 with a well-enacted attempt to smash a guitar. Lacking the impulsive destructiveness of The Who, lead singer Frank Soda nevertheless performed a dramatic, although well-rehearsed presentation.

FRANK SODAAs the audience crowded the stage to watch, Soda, wearing a devil's mask, pounded his guitar against the floor, strung it up from the ceiling by a rope and hit it with a baseball bat, then stabbed it with a metal bar as the strings screeched their protest. In a final, dramatic move, he leaped atop a table and fired a mock rifle at the guitar. Effective, but without the raw emotion displayed by The Who.

The Toronto-based group, which came from British Columbia about four years ago, has Charlie Towers on bass and John Lechesseur on drums.

The three-member band gave an attention-grabbing performance during the two, three-quarter hour sets, drawing members of the audience to the stage as lead singer and guitarist Soda leaped around. Their actions were similar to those portrayed by Cheap Trick member Rick Neilson, on a more excessive scale. The two guitarists constantly pranced about the stage, often while a strobe light flashed frantically.

Their performance wasa highly visual act, the variety of masks and flashing lights taking precedence over the too-loud music.

This visual aspect of The Imps involves highly imaginative, if somewhat ridiculous headgear. The visuals might have been more effective had their not been such an excess of material. Included in the visuals was a camera with a flashing cube, worn over Soda's head, while they played a song entitled "Take My Picture", as well as a television set headpiece, and a robot-like mask, among others. The audience, however, showed their approval by way of wolf-calls and whistles.

Guitarist Towers said that an audience is held "if you can give them something visual and an original song." The band played largely original music; the only song in the first set not written by Soda, was Joe Walsh's "Rock Mountain Way."

The sound, however, was too loud, leaving a ringing in the ears after each set. As well, the group was, in the words of one student, "a little gross at times" in some of their actions and song lyrics.