KERRANG! ISSUE 79 October 1984
TOBRUK – Marquee, London
A BAND who have come from seemingly almost nowhere, Tobruk have a deal with EMI and a Lance Quinn (qv Lita Ford) produced album in the can, but are largely an unknown quantity to the punters at large. I remember being quite impressed when they were unceremoniously stuffed onto the bum end of a bill at the Hammersmith Odeon, but now is the testing time with their introductory tour beginning to unfold.
Observation number one has got to be the crowd on stage- there’s six of ’em, a dual guitar line-up plus keyboards. Surprise, surprise, they’re shooting for North America, and neatly kitted out with matching guitars (toooo ducky, boys!) they set out to display their wares.
Initially, the sound was pretty average, with the keyboards utterly inaudible, but eventually it opened up to give the band a chance. There’s precious little innovation in Tobruk’s approach, but that hasn’t done Bon Jovi any harm – I love ’em! – and certainly in recorded form I’m sure we’re going to be faced with an impressive debut.
In the sweaty depths of the Marquee there’s a tendency to get cynical and the Kerrang! Krew spotted a number of apparent lifts – Journey, Montrose, UFO and Purple- but, to be fair, none of them offended. The band are full of energy and leap about like rabbits on acid, an enthusing reminder that rock’s supposed to be fun.
Standout numbers included the widescreen attack of ‘Running From The Night’, more exuberant push and shove in the shape of ‘Breakdown’, and a burning ‘Falling’ with its excellent harmonised guitar break from Mick Newman and Nigel Evans. Keysman Jem Davies contributes some brightly colourful synths but unfortunately is the proud owner of a Hammond organ complete with Leslie cab-thanks Jem, I’d forgotten how much I loathe that disgusting sound. It’s dated and grating, and totally at odds with Tobruk’s apparent ambitions.
It’s early days on the tour yet and perhaps a shade premature to comment, but there was a nagging feeling that the band currently lack the tight ruthlessness necessary if they’re to really make the grade, and Snake’s vocals were nowhere near as commanding as they should have been. A feeling on the night that may pass, however. I’m pretty sure the album’s going to be excellent, and the band s show at least demands investigation.