The venue was in the midst of celebrating its 17th year in Tampa. The Bay Area has changed a good amount in the last two decades, and I wondered how New World has evolved since the early days. One of the biggest changes, according to the venue’s sound engineer Mark Bustin, was how “Tampa’s grown around it”, becoming a warm host to local and nationally respected bands. While New World was not initially meant to cater to the Tampa music scene, its become the “best accidental venue”. As friendly waitress Joann Rivera mentioned, it’s also “become more of a restaurant”, being described as “Ybor’s best barbecue joint also happens to be one of the area's best music venues” by Creative Loafing.
But back to the show.
Starting a little late, as the best shows often do, Tampa’s Proud Iron Lion sneaked on stage. Naturally transitioning from mellow beach rock to heady psychedelic intensity, the band played a dynamic set. After warming the crowd up with their introduction, the lead singer announced that this would be their last show. “Our drummer is moving to New York. So we’re changing our name to Pizza.” Proud Iron Lion’s hushed, minimalistic words made room for their wet guitar riffs and distortions. Between songs, there were deliberate chants from the singer and the crowd for the future of Pizza.
Next up was Tampa great, Geri X, coming back to Tampa from a tour to support her upcoming album. “It’s good to be home” she said while adjusting her guitar. Being named “Best of Indie” by Rolling Stone Magazine in 2011 and “Best Singer/Songwriter” by Creative Loafing, Geri X has received positive acclaim from local and national media. Her thin tattooed frame, characteristic turquoise highlights and smoky, soulful voice drew the crowd in as she played tracks from her upcoming album, Work Is The Wolf. Classic, rootsy inspirations peppered her set, from doo-wop rhythms to jangling tambourines. Her ten song set left the concert goers hoping for an encore. Geri X comforted the crowd by mentioning her album release party at Crowbar on May 4th.
Topping off the anniversary celebration was Tennessee country band, The Only Sons. Revealing their meaning of their namesake in the song “Only Son”, lead singer Kent Goolsby explained that “one was enough”. The band’s twanging whiskey growl turned the space into a dance floor. The bright lights of the venue’s Bop City Bar sign shined on the crowd as the band played its brand of 70s southern rock. Goolsby introduced many of the band’s tracks, whose daring simplicity kept the crowd on their toes. The band’s clear lyrics and retro instrumentation made their presence almost anachronistic, which fits their new album. “When the New Wears Off” is their ten song debut which becomes available later this month.