El Paso’s Sparta set to play first hometown show in nearly 5 years

(Photo: Times file)

It’s official: Sparta is back.

The longtime El Paso alternative-rock band announced Monday that it will perform Dec. 16 at Tricky Falls, 209 S. El Paso St. It will be Sparta’s first hometown concert in nearly five years.

The concert is a benefit for the El Paso Community Foundation. Tickets for the concert are free and may be reserved beginning at noon Wednesday at trickyfalls.com.

Donations will be accepted at the event.

"I’m excited to continue working with the El Paso Community Foundation to use live music, which I love dearly, to raise money for our community," Jim Ward, a member of Sparta and a board member of the El Paso Community Foundation, said in a news release. "Our hope is to continue developing a program that balances music and charity to benefit multiple areas of need in the El Paso/Juarez area."

Sparta, led by El Paso musician and business-owner Ward, was formed in 2001 when the critically acclaimed El Paso group At the Drive-In splintered into two camps. Ward, guitarist Paul Hinojos and drummer Tony Hajjar formed Sparta’s original lineup, later adding fellow El Pasoan Matt Miller on bass. Singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez formed the group The Mars Volta.

Sparta enjoyed its own critical and fan success, releasing three albums, "Wiretap Scars," "Porcelain" and "Threes," between 2002 and 2006. In 2008, the group went on hiatus, with Ward focusing on his alt-country group Sleepercar and solo work.

On Monday, Sparta released its first new music since 2012. The new single, "Graveyard Luck," is available for purchase on iTunes and on streaming services such as Apple Music.

The band is currently made up of Ward, Miller, guitarist Gabriel Gonzalez, and drummer Cully Symington.

El Paso band Emily Davis and the Murder Police will open the concert.

Dave Acosta may be reached at 546-6138; dacosta@elpasotimes.com; @Chuy_Vuitton on Twitter.

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