TALENT IN ACTION
BILLBOARD, May 15, 1975
Author Unknown (submitted by Damian Phelan)
A review of the Tommy Bolin Band’s appearance on either April 30 or May 1, 1976 at The Roxy Theater in W. Hollywood, CA. Those appearances were only the second and third by the newly-formed Tommy Bolin Band.
Bolin is an accomplished guitarist whose music effectively incorporates a variety of styles and influences. Having served as Lead Guitarist for the post Joe Walsh James Gang prior to joining Deep Purple in mid-1975, Bolin is naturally rock-oriented.
Nevertheless he recognizes the value of melody and rhythmic variation. As a result his music combines the intensity and urgency of rock with the lyricism and subtlety of various non-rock idioms.
Fortunately, Bolin’s stage presentation emphasizes this musical diversification in addition to the technical virtuosity for which he has already earned wide praise. His L.A. debut on April 29th featured songs of varying tempo and moods, each of which revealed his ability to capture and hold an audience.
The set opened with “Teaser,” the title cut from his current Nemporer solo LP. Bolin began by establishing the guitar riff that dominates the song, then moved into extended instrumental section that features sax/guitar unisons. The song was warmly received.
“People People,” another cut from the Teaser album, relied heavily on Bolin’s voice, which unfortunately proved to be the show’s weakest component. However, since the focus of the music was so squarely on instrumentation, Bolin’s voice was effectively neutralized and it neither added or detracted from most of the songs. In some cases, the vocals were buried under the instruments. This was especially true in “The Grind” which supported a guitar/bass power riff ala the Beatles’ “Day Tripper.”
Bolin encored with the instrumental “Homeward Strut” which drew the audience to it’s feet. It was a fitting close to the well paced, tightly performed set.