Words by Tracey Moyle – Music Maven Events
When a band as adored as Aussie alternative/progressive rockers Cog are announced to play at a venue like Solbar, Maroochydore you don’t take your time deciding whether you’ll get tickets or not. Solbar is a Sunshine Coast live music institution that has supported local music for many years, so having Cog play this much loved venue is like a coming together of two great music contemporaries.
There are only three dates on this quick December tour Byron Bay, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane so the fans are out in full force. Heading in, the room fills up quickly with eagerness in every way. There is a buzz around the room from very early on.
To kick off the night Rhino open the night to a largely new crowd who likely have no idea what to expect from these Brissy boys. They start off in a big way with Found The Lord. Hard and heavy and showing off the goods up front. People were listening. The place was already ¾ full, a sign of the night to come, and drummer Heath Kelly gave us a killer beat with following number White Witch and frontman Simon Benson showing us his vocal power. The energy continues with Cyclone, followed by, at times, Benson sounding like the devil himself, demanding you listen with DJW. New single Afterlife hits the mark with no bullshit rock, backed up with raw, gravelly vocals. Finally ending the set with a “1,2 Fuck You!” and into The Falcon with hints of melodic vocal coming through at times giving us a glimpse of our front mans versatility. These Brissy boys have been working hard on the live circuit and definitely earned their opening spot tonight in a big way. The crowd loved it.
Sydney’s Redhook may be relatively new to the scene but they haven’t wasted any time making themselves known in a big way. With several music festivals under their belts already and a triple j Unearthed favourite, they were here to entertain.
They’re not about falling into a genre, they keep a musical palate fitting for any music loving soul. From rock, rap, metalcore to pop and electronica, they bring us a barrage of energy ready to keep the crowd moving. Opening with Cuts, lead Emmy Mack owns the stage with her bust of energy and melodic punk power vocal. Lead guitarist Craig Wilkinson adds support with deep growling vocal in the chorus giving the song that extra heavy hit. Minute On Fire next – furious pop punk laced with melodic rock and urgency in the vocals. Mack was great to watch with her hyped up energy and flaming red hair, she took ownership of the stage. Into Paralysed a heavy rock feel with more energy bursting from the stage, bassist Kim Quint was impressive putting extra energy in, keeping up the intensity of the performance.
With high energy flowing from the band to the crowd they bring out Only Bones with Quint providing a brilliantly frantic heavy bass with skill and ease combined with Alex Powys drumming like a madman, it all comes together with Wilkinson leading the way through heavy riffs consuming your focus. With Mack’s ferocious vocals the whole thing lit up like a charge. Powys standing at the drums in the end to belt it home. New release Fake next with their energy hitting a peak. These guys remind me of a hard core skate punk band I adored many years ago called Guano Apes. The energy is high and the music punk, heavy and full of passion. That electric current kept running through new song Your Heroes and then into Turn Up The Stereotype. I get the impression these guys could be playing to 400 or 40 and still have the same energy exuding from the stage. They ended with a cover of Rage Against The Machines Guerrilla Radio getting the full house involved in a big way. A great set.
Not long now until Cog take the stage and the room is uncomfortably packed. People are moving about, I suspect to find more room, but there is none. The venue is not huge but they have packed in as many as possible for this highly anticipated show. There was barely enough time to grab a beer in between sets with the bar deep in bodies. But those with the feet firmly on the ground up front of stage weren’t moving for anyone. The crowd was heavily mid-30 + male but not solely. A pumped up, chatty fan in front gave a nod to the guy behind me with “this guy saved my life, he’s my heart surgeon”. The room was awash with Cog t-shirts from past shows and an eager chant went up “Cog! Cog! Cog!” just minutes before the band took the stage. Any feelings of claustrophobia disappear from the packed out room once the music starts with the band opening with Anarchy OK going back to the early days first up. The crowd soaked up the energy .
They go into new release Drawn Together and although the song is recent the crowd sing along like they’ve heard it a thousand times. You could say drawn together is how the band and their fans are intrinsically connected. The music comes together in a seamless fusion with their years together, despite their break, proving the deep connection the three have through to the power that music holds, and their fans are well aware of it. Lucius Borich pounds the beat triggering your reflexes, Luke Gower has the bass hitting you hard with Flynn’s unique vocals resonating through the room – they are Cog.
What If? up next, again had bass vibrating through every nerve ending in the room. Flynn’s vocals so familiar to the dedicated mass, had everyone mesmerised with the steady progressive feel of this track building with intensity.
They were there to play going straight into Say Your last Goodbye, the crowd feeling every bit of the music, reliving past memories when Cog first came into their musical world.
The voice of activist Mario Savio and his iconic ‘Operation of the Machines’ speech gives us the political edge that is Cog and is the familiar opening of The Movies Over with Borich drumming us throughout we are reminded of the reason Cog exists and what they stand for – and against. With the atmosphere of this song building, the night is already a new memory for the fans no matter what happens next.
2018 release Altered States builds and continues to take us on a progressive musical journey with lyrics that plead you to listen to the message with the climax a perfect culmination of guitar, bass and drums in a frantic pleading outburst.
Flynn stops to tell the recent story of a 13 year old girl, (Izzy Raj-Seppings) threatened with arrest while peacefully protesting climate change in the wake of our burning country, outside Kirribilli house. The fact that our leader was holidaying overseas while so many suffer, provoked such a young girl to speak out about her future. Cog have a voice and it’s one that many hear with their hearts open. It’s why the energy was so positive and strong in this overcrowded room. They took us back to 2008 with Swamp and Moo then back to 2018 with The Middle confirming time hasn’t stopped them from creating brilliant music.
As you’d fully expect the room when nuts when they broke out My Enemy singing along to every single word.
They kept the elated current running through the room going into Bird Of Feather. They finished the night on The Spine leaving over 400 Cog fans feeling like Christmas had come early. It was a slow departure from the crowded room with punters hanging around chatting and getting drinks, not wanting the mood to subside. Another night to store tight in their music loving memories.
Cog finish up their quick tour up the coast at The Triffid in Brisbane Sunday December 22nd. A great way to end the year on a music high. You have three brilliant bands in one place guaranteed to leave your heart pounding and holiday spirits high.