The last time I saw Cog was in 2009.
Whilst I like Cog’s music, the major incentive for me to get tickets was that it Oceansize were conducting their first (an sadly, only) tour of Australia as support for Cog.
My housemate at the time was also a fan of Oceansize, so we bought tickets to the show at Newcastle Panthers, as well as the show at Selina’s at Coogee on the following night.
Despite staying close to an hour away from Newcastle and leaving a few hours after waking up to drive home to head to the second gig, we somehow we managed to do both without feeling too tired.
The first band for both nights was Calling all Cars and, whilst I didn’t find myself enjoying them, in retrospect their performance was better than I felt at the time.
Oceansize came on launched into a solid set.
They came off as effortless and enthusiastic, nailing everything they played and sounding very much like a unit that was the sum of its parts.
The songs they chose fit well together, flowing well with a clear beginning, middle and end. For me, it was a positive as, whilst a selection of songs played well can be more than enough, having them in an order that makes sens is a better thing for some bands.
Their set should have been longer than it was on both nights, but they made the most of what time they had and were more than worth the time spent watching them.
By comparison, Cog seemed to be tired. The sounded fine and I don’t remember there being any noticeable mistakes they made, but it lacked much enthusiasm.
I doubt that they weren’t giving it their all at the time, but both nights felt as though they were lacking presence.
I remember feeling somewhat disappointed, as I had seen them play significantly better prior to those two gigs.
It might be unfair to now look at two gigs I went to back in 2009, but they made a fairly big impact on me due to the sharp contrast between Oceansize’s and Cog’s performances.
When I found out they were getting back together for a string of shows, I bought tickets as quickly as I could, then found myself wondering as to why I bought them.
I’m not sure if it was due to a friend coming or if it was due to feeling too lazy to sell the tickets, but I ended up going to the gig.
Sleepmakeswaves were up first. It was an alright set. It felt a little too rehearsed and it was far louder than it needed to be (Cog seemed to be quieter), but they sounded melodically competent and their performance was decent.
Soon after they finished, the audience was treated to “Oxygène” for a good few minutes.
Then Cog came on and quickly started with “Doors”. Outside of a few slight mishaps, it was strongly delivered.
Once the song was over, Flynn Gower advised that he woke up that morning and his voice was mostly gone. However, despite that, he/the band weren’t going to cancel the show. He then advised everyone that he was going to need their help singing.
The crowd was more than happy to oblige.
Despite this, Flynn belted it out as much as he could and, when he was audible over the crowd, whilst sounding croaky, was still putting in a good performance.
Songs from The New Normal took up the majority of the set, with Sharing Space taking up a good portion of the remainder and only two songs (“Mosiach” and their cover of Leftfield’s “Open Up”) coming from before those albums. With that being said, the set list was a good selection and each song was played with plenty of energy.
Lucius Borich’s drumming remained tight and in control whilst Luke Gower’s bass and Flynn Gower’s guitar drove along with them, leading to Cog feeling more rhythmic than they previously had. At times the guitar sounded a little bit muddy. However, it coalesced with the bass quite well.
After the highly energetic performances “My Enemy” and “Bird of Feather”, Flynn took a moment to thank their road crew. It wasn’t the most striking thing that was said by a member of the band during the performance, but it was still good to see the crew acknowledged as it doesn’t happen enough.
After this, Cog closed the gig with “No Other Way”. The audience had been fairly impassioned with their singing prior to this, but at this point they matched the energy of Cog. Neither the band nor the audience seemed ready to have the gig end, but knowing that it was coming, they decided to make sure they were giving it their all.
It was good to see Cog again. Compared to the two performances I saw in 2009, it was a significant improvement. They felt rejuvenated and had a strong stage presence.
If this is a final run, then it was good to see them end on a high note, but hopefully this is an indicator that they’re going to remain together and work on something new.