The Brooklyn best friend duo of Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, AKA Overcoats, has been to Chicago several times over the past couple of years, each time sharing their cleverly crafted mix of electronic and folk music from their 2017 debut album Young. They’ve performed everywhere from Schubas, Lincoln Hall, The Metro, festivals, and so on. As it turns out, their show at The Vic on Thursday, October 25th created a full circle moment for Overcoats, brining Elion and Mitchell back to the same stage they’d first performed on in this city in 2016, opening for Matt Corby. Towards the end of their set last week, the pair recalled their first time at The Vic, Elion joking “We used to travel by Megabus. Now we’re adults and we rent mini vans.”
While their mode of transportation may have matured, Overcoats also continues to grow tremendously in their stage presence and their sound. When I saw Overcoats perform as headliners at Schubas Tavern in May 2017, shortly after the release of their album, Elion and Mitchell brought a full show of coordinated outfits and choreography to the small and humble stage at the Lakeview tavern. The pair has always had that sense of synchronization in their show, but they’ve managed to adapt those aspects of their show to scale as they move up to bigger stages, all while managing to keep a strong focus on their message. One of Overcoats’ primary messages is lifting each other up as women, and on Thursday night, Mitchell made that known by saying “The future is believing women” at the beginning of their set. The crowd eagerly absorbed what Overcoats had to tell them both between songs and during their songs, cheering their empowering speaking points and cheering their choreography. Some of the audience at The Vic joined along in singing some of Overcoats’ songs like “Nighttime Hunger” and “Hold Me Close,” and they also responded enthusiastically to the couple of new songs performed by Overcoats last week. One of the new songs, called “The Fool,” sounded a little edgier with a shouty chorus that channeled Le Tigre vibes. This new twist to their already complex dynamic that blends different genres together showcases Elion and Mitchell’s fearlessness as artists.
Perhaps the biggest nod to Overcoats’ talent and showmanship, though, was their ability to keep the show going on Thursday despite technical difficulties. Early on in the night, loud feedback could be heard in the house and in the band’s monitors, and it took the venue staff more than fifteen minutes to make it stop. Rather than put the set on hold, Elion and Mitchell played through the noise, determined to keep the show rolling. “We’ll just have to play louder,” they joked. Finally, at the end of the set, the feedback noise stopped, and the duo were able to wrap up their set with “Leave The Light On,” which once again highlighted their dance moves.
After coming full circle since their fist time in Chicago, it’s only a matter of time before Overcoats are not only playing, but headlining bigger stages across the country. Keep an eye out for new music and a second album from the pair, and check out photos of their’s and Mitski’s set on October 25th below.