Benny Ball reviews Cog at ANU bar. Cog live @ ANU bar 8/4/04
Article By Benny Ball on Apr 9, 2004


$12 to see Australia's most cutting edge hard rock band, is an opportunity not to be passed up. With a quality back catalogue and a new album on the way, Cog have once again hit the road, this time with support from Sydney's Brace and budding young metallers Random. First stop, Canberra.

I've got to be honest - being the unorganised type, I missed out on seeing openers Random. After the hype I've been fed, this is a big disappointment. Eye-witness accounts suggest that Random were perhaps the best band of the night, some people indicating they upstaged the headliner. A spanner was thrown in the works however when the second guitarist's amp decided to buck the system, and the band were forced to cut their set short after the fifth or sixth song. Nonetheless, with some incredible drumming at their backs and a range of big name support slots, in the near future Random are sure to solidify themselves as one of our premium underground metal acts.

I managed to catch most of John Pilgers' BAFTA nominated documentary 'Breaking The Silence: the Truth and Lies about the War on Terror', shown in this context as a short film. One uninitiated (such as myself) might think this out of place - not every metal concert forces its audience to endure hardhitting left wing propaganda - but Cog have always been known for their strong political outlook, and it is hardhitting enough to not be cliched. Indeed most of the punters were giving it some time and thought, with only the occassional cry of "WE'RE HERE TO GET PISSED AND JUMP UP AND DOWN, NOT WATCH AWARD WINNING POLITICAL COMMENTARIES". Okay, so no one actually said that.
According to Flynn Gower, singer/guitarist of Cog, this particular documentary was shown at the gig because channel 7, 9, 10 and the ABC wouldn't screen it. Apparently Tina Turner got it wrong: we do need another hero.

Brace are a band formed from the ashes of reasonably well known group Henry's Anger. With an EP released in 2002 titled Before you Begin, Brace are seemingly set to cover new ground, with the surprising inclusion of keyboarder Lachlan Mitchell adding a slight industrial vibe to their sound - but at their core, Brace are a solid emo/hardcore style band, with some tight songs and a smooth sound.
Being a 5-piece, the boys undoubtedly would've been puzzled at the ANU bar's stage size......I'll put the explanation for some truly experimental dance moves from lead singer Jamie Thomas down to the limiting size of the stage area. Nonetheless, the band did their best to bring some energy onstage. To be honest though, I found it easy to write them off as 'just another band'.

After a short break from the action, it was time for the band everyone was here to see. A strong turnout meant a unified and comfortable audience stretching back to the further reaches of the bar. This being my first time seeing Cog, I'm amazed at the quality of sound the band acheives. The Bondi three-piece maintain a thick, near-studio level assault, and it is evident just how much this band has been on the road. Churning out tracks from their last two EPs Just Visiting pt I & II and the odd piece of material from their soon to be released album, the crowd responds to such favourites as 'Bondi' and 'Open Up', while listening carefully to newies like 'Silence is Violence'. On the new tracks - there seems to be a definate lack of 'single' material at the moment, but Cog admit that the album is still awhile off being released, so here's hoping.
The band would have you believe that it's 'truly exciting' to be back onstage and touring after their recent writing/recording sessions. I saw a band that was tired of incessant small time gigs such as this one. If it was my band, I would be too - after all, this is perhaps one of the last times you will see the band on this small scale. On the eve of their new album's release, it seems Cog are finally ready to enter the big leagues and cement themselves as Australia's hard rocking finest.