Rock & Pop

Sparta

When: Mon., May 21, 8 p.m. 2012

Jim Ward and Tony Hajjar may have never achieved the kind of name recognition that their former bandmates from At the Drive-In have (as The Mars Volta), but their post-hardcore outfit Sparta deserves some credit nonetheless. Singer/guitarist Ward and drummer Hajjar took a more straightforward approach to their post-ATDI music career, without sacrificing any of the explosive energy that made that group so magnetic: The result was super-dramatic, dare I say, emotional indie rock with post-hardcore underpinnings. Its 2002 debut, Wiretap Scars, was a collection of driving songs and hooks galore. Over the years, the band softened its sound quite a bit -- its last album, 2006's Threes, drew comparisons to U2, Radiohead, and even Coldplay(!). The band -- plus bassist Matt Miller and guitarist Keeley Davis -- took a three-year hiatus while ATDI reunited, and now it's back with new material and a brief Southwest tour. See if any of that ATDI energy rubbed off when Sparta plays The Independent (628 Divisadero St., San Francisco) on Monday, May 21. 8 p.m., $20. TheIndependentSF.com

Kathleen Richards

Price: $20

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