Haymaker / Gunnar Hansen / Fog of Leprosy/ Ox Baker / Roach Bank This Ain't Hollywood, Hamilton ON January 15

When a band's music and fans are notorious for inciting violence at shows, causing property damage and literally setting venues on fire, there comes a high level of anticipation for said band's concerts. In Haymaker's case, this excitement is heightened by the fact that they rarely play, even in their hometown of Hamilton, ON, which hasn't seen a Haymaker show in four years. So, needles to say, the gig sold out and the air was electric.

Haymaker's members are the furthest thing from being greenhorns, what with Left for Dead, Chokehold and Cursed members all having served in one of Ontario's best loved and controversial hardcore bands. This bumped up the average age normally associated with D.I.Y. hardcore. As a result, the reaction to the band's furious barrage of murderous blasts of anger and hate was unexpectedly joyous and responsible, as opposed to ignorant and destructive.

Yes, some objects were thrown around and fireworks flew through the air for the better part of the set, but the atmosphere was that of celebration. For those who enjoy the records, this was ideal, as the band played all their hits, but "Fight in the Pit" was sorely missed. Perhaps it was just as well; the consequences could have been severe.

On the downside, the night suffered from extensive delays between performances as each band prepped the stage for their respective set. Nevertheless, Roach Bank's cockroach-inspired headgear was a sight to be seen. Ox Baker's guitar and bass attack was shred-tastic. Fog of Leprosy's Exodus/Overkill style thrash went over well. And Gunnar Hansen got things going with their sloppy and dirty punk, resulting in PA cabinets being thrown and a fight breaking out. But all in all, it was all in the name of fun.