Local act Hammers have recently seen to a few line up changes and tonight is my first night catching a glimpse. And I’m not the least bit disappointed. With vocalist Leigh ‘Fish’ Dowling being the only original standing member, he leads an incredibly solid line up with Rick T of the now disbanded A Delayed Reaction on bass, former guitarist of Helm Ruckus on drums and former supreme leader of Helm Lucas Stone on guitar. If there is one thing that has not changed, it’s Fish’s relationship with the crowd. He’s one of the best frontmen you’ll find in Australia. Non stop energy out the wazoo. The rest of the band are no less energetic, keeping the stage lit with an all out rock show while Fish smashes through the crowd entertaining at ground level.
The crowd starts roaring in out of no where. The lights go down, a single red light hits the stage, as bassist Luke stands in its place. He leads into The River Song as the rest of the band step foot onto the stage. Now I’ve seen Cog all 3 times since their return to the stage in 2016 and one thing that I’m loving is their change of pace with set lists. Mixing it up, not opening with the predictable or closing with the obvious. The River Song as an opener was fantastic and no one saw it coming. As with most of the set at tonight’s show.
The set list consists of 13 tracks, split with 6 songs off of each album and slipping in their incredible rendition of Open Up in there as well. The only thing missing from tonight was anything from the Just Visiting EPs. But with a track listing like tonight’s, that is the least of anyone’s worries.
Halfway into the set the boys bust out Real Life, the opening track of their debut LP The New Normal. Still a crowd favourite after all these years as the crowd sings at the top of their lungs. The set continues with Run, The Spine and Swamp. Flynn has a chat with the crowd about releasing their first music since 2008s Sharing Space. Explaining to the crowd that it’s nearly ready and they can’t wait for everyone to hear what they’ve got in store for us.
The walls of the room are radiating heat at this point, it’s one of the hottest gigs I’ve ever attended. Even 2 out of 3 of the band members have stripped their shirts off cause it is just insane in here. Regardless of the weather, the crowd participation has been great tonight, but it’s when Luke hits those opening notes of My Enemy, the bands first big single release, the crowd really starts belting out the notes louder than ever. And they only get louder from here. Especially as Flynn starts playing the oh so recognisable riff that begins Bird Of Feather. The crowd instantly goes into opera mode, singing the emotional song with the same passion that Flynn sings it with.
We see an acoustic guitar brought out onstage. I’ve been to a heck of a lot of Cog shows and I have never seen Flynn rip out an acoustic. It’s to close out the show with Bitter Pills, one of their more out there experimental tracks, exploring synths in a new way to previous recordings. As I said, very unexpected closing song.
The crowd retreats into the outside cool air and takes in everything they saw tonight. It was definitely one of the more intimate settings I’ve seen Cog in for a very long time. Now we just have to patiently wait for the release of The Middle. And it couldn’t come quick enough.
Photos by Lamp Photography