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The Winnipeg Tribune, October 29, 1979

Imps' heavy metal music highlighted by gags, tricks - A review

By Tilman Goetting


The Imps are a three piece heavy metal outfit from Toronto. Last week they brought their musical and visual effects - viewer discretion advised - to the Southwood. On Saturday CITI-FM broadcast two of their 45 minute sets live to an unsuspecting Winnipeg.

WINNIPEG TRIBUNEHead Imp Frank Soda not only gives the band its name, he is the band. Small and wiry he looks like a typical Imp, he jumps like one and has a permanent devilish grin on his face. He plays guitar, one and two handed, jumping, standing and sitting, on stage or on a table while downing a spectator's beer. He handles all lead vocals with a clear fairly high pitched voice and he wears all the funny costumes.

Bassist Charles Towers and John Lechesseur complete the line up. Both musicians are quite capable performers on their respective instruments but both play very heavy handed. The bass is always present as a very solid but monotonous thump. A jackhammer snare beat, regular as clockwork dominates the drumming. Put that together with a flashy guitarist who knows every tricky lick and then some - and you get Led Zeppelin around 1969.

To top it all off, the band perfomed the seminal heavy metal song, the Zep's Whole Lotta Love, true to the last note. The same late sixties touch colours the rest of the band's material. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, the Rolling Stones' Satisfaction for example was battered beyond recognition.

The Imps bill themselves as a theatrical rock group and true enough, there is lots to see and behold. Their light show includes an excellent strobe which freezes Soda's leaps for split seconds, seemingly suspending him in midair.

Then there are the light bulb hats, the exploding TV set, the masks and the inflatable love doll. Frank Soda uses all of these gimmicks, one for almost every song. When his head starts to glow like a Christmas tree, when he gets beheaded during Headless Horseman and the head floats across the stage during a furious strobe attack, the viewer is treated to some more or less spectacular effects.

But all of these gags are used over and over, maybe twenty seconds per song without any true connection to the content of the material - hardly theatrical.

The Imps do a lot of things well, they play well, they are professional. But their music so utterly lacks anything distinguishing, their visual gags become so redundant that they tend to be boring.