Wednesday, February 20, 2019 at The Depot gave audiences the perfect pairing of two very smart pop acts, who knew how to meaningfully touch the hearts of their young fan base: opener Tessa Violet, and headliners COIN.

Photo credit: Charissa Che

Contrary to her observation that the crowd was not “warm enough” for the main act, Violet was more than apt at getting everyone to sing along to songs (and even dance to her choreography) that were largely unfamiliar to us. In between songs were mini confessionals that helped construct a living scrapbook of her journey through depression, love lost, and, as one song spells out, “Bad Choices.” “When I started writing this, I wanted to write about how sexy and sassy I was,” she said endearingly, by way of introducing the song. Alas, she tells us how it took on an agency of its own, to be about “what pretty much sums up my whole life thus far.”

Photo credit: Charissa Che

While Violet’s asides were frank and vulnerable, they did not pander, which is why her set was so memorable. Scanning the room, even teens wearing the toughest facades sang along to the lyrics of “Make Me a Robot,” an autobiographical song about her recent struggle with mental illness, and her journey toward self-love. “Make me a robot. Make me a robot. Make, make me cold,” the room sang. The flashlights lit up on their phones, and swayed. “Make me a robot. Make me a robot. Take, take my soul.”

Photo credit: Charissa Che

With the scene sufficiently “warmed up” (the bassist took off his shirt at one point because he was so warm, and probably at the persuasive chanting of “Take it off!” led by Violet), COIN gave us a set featuring tracks from their 2017 LP, How Will You Know if You Never Try and their more canonical 2015 self-titled debut album. Some songs from their upcoming album upped the groove of their usual sound; i.e. “Simple Romance,” which recalls “Feeling” with a teasing dash of falsetto. Echoing like The Wombats and Spoon and probably an amalgamation of others from the best of 2000s indie pop, the band rightfully deserves the traction they’ve gained this past year.

Photo credit: Charissa Che

The stage setup was simple: just four guys in front of a backdrop of horizontal neon lights. But seen especially from the back, it looked effortlessly cinematic. Silhouetted frontman Chase Lawrence threw himself on the keys, moppy hair flying and tongue out. “Run” and “Talk Too Much” were of course the popular hits that brought out the Snapchats. The latter’s guitar solo was especially delicious to behold live.

Photo credit: Charissa Che

To view more photos from the sold-out show, go here.

See all our music coverage here.