LIVE: Overcoats and Moonrise Nation Brought Harmonies, Friendship, and Female Empowerment to Lincoln Hall
Overcoats and Moonrise Nation played to a packed Lincoln Hall last Friday night, providing a sense of friendship, unity, and empowerment of women.
After Moonrise Nation's stunning and harmony heavy opening set, a sense of anticipation built up as a large “O” light glowed at the back of Lincoln Hall’s small stage, welcoming the duo of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell back to the Lincoln Park venue. The pair had performed on the same stage back in January, opening for Caroline Smith as part of the annual Tomorrow Never Knows festival. Since that performance, Overcoats released their debut album and toured the country--returning to Chicago to headline Schubas and play Millennium Park. Each time, the show has evolved, and Elion and Mitchell seem to impossibly improve upon their already stunning and synchronized show, which has always been full of grace, poise, and so much talent.
The set on Friday started with the pair of best friends and their drummer (who is gaining recognition for his solo project Soft Glas) making their way onstage to a dramatic, yet ambient entrance music, which segued into "Smaller Than My Mother" from their album Young. The first half of the set included many of the popular tracks from their album, like "Hold Me Close" and "The Fog," but each song was only expanded upon and made unique in the live sense. Overcoats brilliantly mixed electronic and organic tones on their album by working with two producers (more on that here), and they manage to transfer that mix into their show. Between "The Fog" and "23," Mitchell addressed the crowd saying, "The future is intersectional feminism"; a statement greeted with cheers from the crowd. The theme of supporting women, especially women supporting other women, held up throughout the evening, with the pair introducing another song as being about "women lifting each other up." At their Schubas show earlier this year, they had mentioned a quote about empowering friends, saying just because someone else's flame is burning bright, that doesn't take away from your own flame, and that metaphor still seemed relevant at their most recent Lincoln Hall show and in everything that the pair do. After all, the band's official merch even included a sweatshirt that reads "Women Rule."
Besides the power of friendship that radiated from the stage, and the flawless execution of their songs from the album, Overcoats also brought humor and a few surprises to their show. Their cover of Hozier's "Cherry Wine" has gone viral on Spotify, and the pair performed it at the show, but not before taking requests for other covers. The cover mashup started with "Umbrella," and a fan even handed Mitchell their umbrella for added effects. In an effort to highlight their elaborate and custom merch, which included coats thrifted by Mitchell and Elion, the pair recited a skit about staying warm in Chicago, encouraging everyone to grab a coat or crew neck from them after the show.
The pair also displayed such gratitude to everyone involved in their show, thanking the venue staff as well as their own crew, and shouting out the new album from their drummer, advising the audience to follow him on Instagram. Their set not only included the performance of "I Don't Believe in Us," which was only released two weeks prior, but a brand new, stripped down song during their encore. After the slowed down and rare performance, they ended the night with the energy ramped up to the max, performing "Leave The Light On" (complete with coordinated dance moves).
From the dance moves to the between-song jokes and the constant presence of friendship, each Overcoats show is just full of an infectious energy that clings to the crowd as they leave the venue. In a time where bad news fills our newsfeeds daily, artists like Overcoats help provide a shield and a light with their art and their performances...almost like they're giving us a coat (wink, wink) of armor.
If you missed out on the stellar show from Overcoats, relive some of the magic with our gallery by Emily Nava.