The Triffid, Brisbane QLD
December 22nd, 2019
In high school, I cared what people thought of me, and I was a very self-conscious, unhappy teenager. Everyone at school listened to Hip Hop, Rap and RnB and because I wanted to be ‘cool’ like them, so did I. Alternative music always spoke to me more though, and my dad only listened to Triple J. Every year as what I thought was a ‘guilty’ pleasure I either acquired a burnt copy of the Hottest 100 CD or asked for it for my birthday. For years I listened to it in secret until I finally left school, got new friends and realised I could listen to whatever I wanted.
I tell this story because one of the hottest 100 CDs I clearly remember was 2005 which is the year that Bernard Fanning’s ‘Wish You Well’ won, and it had such bangers as End of Fashion’s ‘Oh Yeah’ and After the Fall’s ‘Concrete Boots’. COG’s ‘My Enemy’ came in at 32, beating such songs as ‘I Bet You Look Good on The Dancefloor’. I played this CD obsessively, and ‘My Enemy’ stuck out because it was so unlike anything else I was listening to. In the years since COG has become an Australian institution, released so many great songs and played heaps of shows. Unfortunately, I have never had the chance to get along to any of these shows, so I was keen to check the band out finally this year.
First up was Brisbane heavy hitters RHINO whose set I only saw half of due to a slight mishap getting into the show. What I did see was furious, technical, and so good. The band only formed in 2018 and say that they have one goal in mind which is “to record, tour and become a force in Australian rock” and judging from their set last night, they are well on their way to achieving this.
With the stage doused in red light, COG’s set started with ominous sci-fi-like music before they burst onto the stage straight into well-known ‘Anachy OK’ from their 2005 album New Normal. After the second song ‘Drawn Together’ was a run of songs from 2008’s Sharing Space ‘What If’, ‘Say Your Last Goodbye’ and ‘The Movie’s Over’. The set was heavy with songs from this album with ‘Swamp’ coming halfway through and crowd favourite ‘Bird Of Feather’ coming as the second last song. Before ‘Swamp’, Frontman Flynn Gower gave an impassioned speech about climate change and the young girl who had been protesting outside Kirribilli House after the recent bushfires destroyed her house. Gower called for the crowd to band together to make much-needed changes to the government and system. It was a fitting introduction to a song that starts with “I don’t listen at all to the government, I just say ‘no, why do you hate?’ I don’t listen at all to the government. The government has gotta go.”
A very drunk super fan who knew the words to every song yelled ‘Moo’ after every single other song, and it was a relief when the band finally gave him his wish towards the end of the set. The band closed out the night with ‘The Middle’ and crowd sing-alongs ‘My Enemy’, ‘Bird of Feather’ and ‘The Spine’. There was no encore which I liked; I don’t know how I feel about encores, they are pretty much part of every show and expected these days. But it was a welcome break to see COG finish their last song and head off stage wishing the crowd goodnight and Merry Christmas.
I am going to be completely honest and say that this was a bit of a hard gig for me. I had been struggling with my anxiety all weekend and trying to stand in a packed crowd was hard, so I spent most of this gig towards the back which is very unlike me. COG’s passion, beautifully rich and warm sound and the fact that Gower said he wanted the gig to be a comfortable, safe place of like-minded music lovers, helped make me feel so much better. Watching incredibly talented musicians smash their gig and letting the songs wash over, allowed me to get through the set, and I really enjoyed myself despite the anxiety.
COG is obviously a band dear to their fans, and this was evident in the sing-alongs and good vibes the crowd brought. If you are like me and you have been crazy enough to have slept on going to a gig of this cornerstone of Australian Prog/rock, fix that ASAP, you will not be disappointed!
Say Your Last Goodbye
The Movie’s Over
Bird of Feather
Review by @cait_2tone
Photo Gallery courtesy of Gethin Hill (Gethin Hill Photography)
Please credit Wall of Sound and Gethin Hill if you repost.