New Mexican Disaster Squad / Fifth Hour Hero / Attack in Black Kathedral, Toronto ON - November 8

While it was disappointing that intended openers No Trigger couldn’t make it to the show, their slot was valiantly filled by locals Attack in Black, whose mix of Small Brown Bike-esque sonics and the pop sensibility of late-era Hot Water Music played well to the fairly small crowd. Performing with impressive technical proficiency and earnest emotion, the band sounds poised to make some serious inroads somewhere between lifetime punks and 14-year olds just stepping into dark clubs for the first time. Montreal’s Fifth Hour Hero followed with an even more powerful set that relied heavily on the strongest tracks from their most recent full-length, Not Revenge… Just a Vicious Crush. Opening things up with the stirring "My Sympathies,” the band’s strongest characteristics were immediately on display: the dual male-female vocal approach, the straight-forward songwriting and the hooks that jump out from each song’s chorus. Somehow able to balance a pop sensibility with punk aesthetics, the band maintains a degree of poise that keeps them from genuine pop-punk territory and rooted more in the dirty post-hardcore style that has been coming out of Gainesville, Florida for years. The night ended with ’80s hardcore throwbacks New Mexican Disaster Squad, who were forced to play to a room that, by all rights, should have had a lot more people in it. Like love letters to Damaged-era Black Flag, the band kicked out a set of short, fast and loud songs that occasionally drew from poppier moments in punk rock history. The band didn’t let the lack of crowd response slow them down though and pummelled through a solid, semi-drunken set before calling it a night.