We had just quenched our thirst at a bar on Dale Mabry Boulevard in Tampa and we were driving back to Vinyl Fever to hear a band play an in-store set. Sure, it could have been a bomb. We had already done our shopping on National Record Store Day and the beer at the Press Box was good and cold. Why risk going back for a band I had only heard on MySpace? A band that would be playing a hastily-assembled set in the corner of a busy store with borrowed PA equipment? Was the old man off his rocker?
A planned event was threatening our week of avowed spontaneity. I could almost hear Zach telling me: You wouldn't know indie power rock if it split your eardrums. And he would have been right.
But I know now. And we both know this: New Roman Times can bring it, in a big way. If you have a chance to see the Austin-based band live -- in a store, club, parking lot, anywhere they care to set up -- you better go.
The store's promotional blurb had compared NRT to Bloc Party, Stars and Arcade Fire, which means very little to me. Maybe it's time to give those bands a listen. But they don't have Josie Fluri, our new favorite bass player. Or lead guitarist Harris Thurmond, who could not be penned in by the store's cramped quarters. Or singer/guitarist Daniel Owens, the ring leader of this rich, driving, techno-fueled sound. Or percussionist Michael Allen.
An hour later, after meeting the band members and getting our new copies of "On the Sleeve'' signed, we were driving across the Gandy Bridge into St. Pete, still reverberating from the wild set, unwilling to spoil the moment by turning on the CD player. Basking in the afterglow of New Roman Times.
I could almost hear Zach saying: My indie-rocking old man really knows his stuff.