Sparta lead vocalist/guitarist Jim Ward is not a spastic frontman.
He mostly stands at the mic, backing away only a few times to rock with the rest of his bandmates.
He doesn’t have much to say either, and when he does he sometimes repeats himself.
Ward seems timid, self-conscious even, and considering he’s only been fronting this band for little more then a year, one would assume it would still be acceptable for him to perform this way.
However, some of those who attended Monday’s show at the TLA expressed opposite views and only have themselves to blame.
They went into the show making too many comparisons between Sparta, in part made up of former members of At The Drive-In, and the defunct Texas quintet.
Though similar, Sparta offers a different energy and makes no claim to continue where ATDI left off.
If you arrived with expectations of once again seeing the fro-haired duo fronting the members who make up Sparta, you let yourself down.
To their credit Sparta played a consistent set featuring nothing more and nothing less then the songs on their debut disc, Wiretap Scars, in a different order then the album presents.
They played straight through (with no rock star encore). The only breaks were when Ward spoke.
“Thanks for coming out.
It’s a nice surprise to see so many guests,” he said toward the start of the set.
True, though the show was not sold out, there was a good showing.
Nearing the end: “Thanks for having us guys.
It’s good to be back in the city of brotherly … love,” Ward said, pausing a moment for dramatic effect before finishing his statement.
The melodic “Glasshouse Tarot” and the edgy album opener “Cut Your Ribbon” followed.
Then: “Thanks for having us guys. We’ll see you next time.
This is where we end,” Ward said, leading the band into a heavy version of “Air,” following which they quietly walked off stage, ending the set and the night.
Heather Duffy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.