Words by James Lavel
Photography by Elizabeth Sharpe (@Ummagummamumma) – Full gallery HERE
There is something special about a venue that can balance a great bar, great food, great atmosphere and a killer stage with some of the best sound in Brisbane. I am of course talking about The Triffid. Artists from all across the globe have graced the stage of Newstead’s music haven. Tonight saw the return of Cog… in Cog we trust.
I arrived at The Triffid to a hive of eager fans already packing out the beer garden. You wouldn’t know it was only February when Cog was here last. The doors opened to an empty and cold Triffid, I made my way to the front before things started to heat up.
Local rockers RHINO formed in 2018 and have aptly stampeded on to the scene. The group recently wrapped up recording with Cog’s Lucius Borich at Byron’s Studio 101 releasing their first single Afterlife back in October.
This was my second time seeing these guys and holy shit. I was blown away at the level of professionalism the group had achieved in such a short space of time. From the first note to the last RHINO hit hard. I got lost in James Wassenaar’s guitar work and before I knew it 3 songs had flown right by me. Simon Benson stopped to say a few words about the next track DJW; Damien Brown kept things low and sexy with Geoff Newnan slowly building the pace before taking us to hard hitting rock nirvana. RHINO kept the energy high throughout the set reminding us we can always call in sick tomorrow.
With a sharp strike to the snare Heath Kelly launched us into their single Afterlife. I took a moment to look around; the crowd hadn’t slowed funnelling in since the boys started, and I could almost see the hooks digging into people as they began to lose themselves to RHINO’s grasp. Simon Benson’s vocal work with RHINO is a real stand out. His guttural voice rounds out the band’s sound and overall tone. The guys finished their set on Falcon, “we could have called it dragon, but we don’t have long enough hair yet”. I saw Geoff reach for his PRS before launching us into riff heaven, leaving me with vibes of Orange Goblin and a desire to see a hell of a lot more of this band.
Watch RHINO‘s latest release Afterlife HERE
Next to hit the stage was RedHook. This is the 7th Brisbane show this year for the Sydney 3 piece. These guys slayed at Halloween Hysteria back in October so I was keen to see what they had in store for the evening.
As the lads took the stage to a pre-recorded space jam played out as dedicated fans made their way to the front before Singer Emmy Mack took the stage. To say these guys kept the energy high would be an understatement. Emmy leapt to the barrier to serenade the front row as they slid into Minute on Fire.
Craig Wilkinson kept things heavy with powerful growls and a chunky guitar tone. These guys manipulate an eclectic mix of genres yet somehow manage to keep it controlled and focused. Emmy, head down and whispering frantically into the mic, took us into their new single Fake. Kim Quint and Alex Powys kept the rhythm section hard and heavy with an almost new metal feel behind the powerful vocals of Emmy. It was clear these guys belonged on stage. They jumped into Your Heroes Are Bullshit followed by Turn Up the Stereotype and the crowd at the front ate it up. I couldn’t help but notice that although the room was packed, most punters lingered near the back and didn’t get swept up in the madness that was happening on stage. Perhaps it’s a Sunday night thing? Redhook finished up on their cover of Guerrilla Radio earning them some new fans before the set wrapped up.
Watch RedHook‘s Official Video for Fake HERE
I resisted my urge for a beer, cementing my spot in the front row as the crew set the stage. I was in awe as the mothership sized pedal boards were put in place and Lucius Borich’s monster of a kit was uncovered. Cog have a way of drawing this energy from the crowd without even stepping foot on stage. I could feel the room getting warmer as the excitement grew. Not even security could contain themselves sneaking setlist peaks and making sure everyone could see. The tell-tale flashlight through the darkness marked it was time. The room grew dark and the space around me started to shrink.
Through the darkness Luke Gower started the frantic ranting of Anarchy OK. Flynn’s signature vocals rained out over the room. The Triffid erupted with the crowd singing every word. Drawn Together was next, keeping the energy high. I could feel myself succumbing to the pull of Cog. Flynn masterfully manipulated his pedal board to create the sound of multiple guitars and tones filling the room with a sound far exceeding that of a normal three piece. But Cog isn’t your average 3-piece. Flynn Gower took a moment to address the crowd and officially name this year’s Christmas “Cogmas” before giving us the gift of What If. Flynn reminded us this right here is a “safe window where we can be ourselves, lose ourselves and know that those around us are all on the same wave link”. I couldn’t get the grin of my face as I lost myself in the music. I noticed the people around me, eyes closed singing before the start of The Movies Over plays out.
Luke Gower’s animalistic movements and passion are unrivalled. He took us into Say Your Last Goodbye with his fantastic bass tone and skill. By this stage the room was a pit of pure emotion and incredibly positive energy. Altered States is next. Lucius is an absolute beast behind the kit, knowing exactly what to play and where. It was pretty to special to see everyone singing along. Being a newer song didn’t seem to matter to Cog fans; they knew it intimately. Flynn stopped to tell a story around the recent bushfires that have been plaguing our country. He spoke of a young girl who had lost everything protesting outside Kirribilli House for the government to step in and fix this disaster. She was met with the threat of arrest. At this point I realised why Cog stopped back in 2011 and why they are back here with us. We need Cog right now, the voice in the dark that reminds us we are all the same. We need each other now more than ever. It’s amazing and a little sad how everything seems to come back around again. Who knew the message we received in back in 2008’s Swamp could once again be so damn relevant. “Perhaps we’re not as free as we think we are, this government has got to go”. With that, Swamp played out, followed by Moo before the paced changed up with The Middle.
Again, Luke took the forefront as he and Lucius jammed out a little bass solo before slipping into the familiar start to My Enemy. It was hard to differentiate Flynn’s vocals from the roars of the crowd as he catapulted the first few lines across the venue. He left the second verse to the crowd, nailing every word. Before they continued, Flynn’s daughter handed him his guitar. “That was my eldest daughter, she’s almost 16, but once she was just 3 years old”; Bird Of Feather began as the crowd struggled to control themselves. They finished up on The Spine Leaving everyone begging for more. So much so that the call for an encore continued for at least five minutes after Cog left the stage. Unfortunately, being a Sunday night, their wish was not granted. However, it didn’t matter. Cog had delivered one hell of a show with songs spanning their entire career, and none left disappointed.
This was Cog’s last show for 2019, rounding out a successful year for the band. Their set and the amazing supports RHINO & RedHook were one hell of a way to end the year.
Thank you so much to the ever-accommodating legend, Yogi of Volume Touring & Roadsick Apparel!