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COG @ Metropolis Fremantle gets 9/10

COG @ Metropolis Fremantle
w/ Statues & Oolluu
Friday, June 1, 2018


Metropolis Fremantle got a masterclass in prog rock from Cog on Friday night as they toured in anticipation of their eagerly awaited 2018 album The Middle; their yet-to-be-released and first album in ten years. The Bondi lads powered their way through an evening of greatest hits to a packed venue of new and old fans on a cold evening with winter well and truly announcing it’s arrival.


First up were Statues, bringing their aggressive hardcore sound to their hometown crowd. Opening with Collapse, the first track from their 2017 album No Grave, No Burial, the five-piece were both energetic and interesting throughout the set.

The distorted slap-bass drove much of the sound, with guitars and drums coming together for some huge drops. The energy in the room built and built through a setlist which showed experience, experimentation and great crowd interaction from their frontman.


Second support act Oolluu are an instrumental three-piece from Melbourne, and they took Metropolis Fremantle on a journey through time and space. Their sound is uplifting, fun, groovy, and would fit in amazingly well on an ’80s sci-fi action movie. Dance-synth-rock would be the best way to describe them. The lead synth melodies and arpeggios elevated the band through the cosmos amongst formidable drums, distorted bass lines and crafty rhythms. Taking their most upbeat tracks from their self-titled album and 2017 release Deep-Six, Oolluu had the building crowd dancing in their wait for the main attraction.


Cog arrived onstage to a crowd buzzing with excitement, with Flynn Gower, Luke Gower and Lucius Borich humbly taking in the adoration from a crowd of newcomers and long-standing Cog fans alike. Bathed in a red light, the sonic soundscape of The River Song had Luke Gower on bass guitar providing a perfect opening of the main event. Flynn Gower’s vocals have developed into a richer and fuller tone as the years have gone by, whilst Lucius Borich’s perfect mind-boggling time signatures once again confirmed why Cog are one of Australia’s greatest progressive acts.


Complex and unpredictable with an almost genius level of delivery, Cog handcrafted a setlist to lead a singing and chanting sea of fans through a mesmerising evening. When you master your craft like this, the crowd becomes your most valuable instrument, which Cog played as deftly as their guitars and drums. Despite playing for the best part of two decades, the fans had lost none of their passion, with the stories and emotion in the band’s lyrics taking new meaning in their lives. Many of them were teenagers and young adults when the band hit the world with their landmark album The New Normal, which followed up their brilliant EPs Just Visiting parts one and two. Screams of elation filled Metropolis with the start of every song; a pit of music lovers, rock lovers, and fans losing themselves in a hive of equally passionate peers.

After touching briefly on their debut album and a couple of tracks from their second follow-up album Sharing Space, Cog delighted the familiar and the newcomers with a new track from their upcoming album The Middle. That song, Altered States, is actually from that Sharing Space era and despite not making the album at the time, has resurfaced now and it’s absolutely huge.


What followed was a best-of selection of songs from the entire Cog catalogue, with the biggest cheers from the pit coming from Open Up (a cover of the Public Image Limited/Leftfield song from Cog’s 2003 single of the same name), My Enemy, and Bird of Feather. The end of the evening came with Bitter Pills; the acoustic guitar evoking the same melancholy electricity that the opening number did, with the trio graciously accepting the deserved roar from the crowd as a perfect bookend of the gig.

With much of today’s rock music landscape consisting of chaotic ambiguity mixed with predictable progressions and lyrics, one could question whether we need a band like Cog in 2018. For those that caught them on Friday night the answer was a resounding “absolutely,” followed by a lesson taught by the masters themselves.


Photos by Owen Gregory

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