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Slotted to play three festivals across three states in just three days, it was bound to be a hectic weekend for up-and-coming pop star Charlotte Sands. Add in extreme weather, a canceled flight, and a fourteen hour drive from Kentucky to Boston and one could fairly say that the odds were stacked against the Massachusetts native. Unfazed by any of these roadblocks, though, Sands opened up day two of Boston Calling with an electrifying set, showing off her stellar vocals and snappy songwriting.
Sands was propelled from tepid newcomer to rising star with the release of “Dress” in 2020. Written in response to the controversy spawned by Candace Owens when Harry Styles wore a dress on the cover of Vogue. The track went viral after Sands posted a TikTok teasing the song. The post went on to receive over 1.3 million views and counting. In the year and half since the release, Sands went on to release two EP’s, growing her collection of energetic pop-punk bangers.
As the festival gates to Boston Calling opened and the first raindrops began to fall, an anxious chatter fell over the growing crowd in anticipation of Sands’ performance. The restless cacophony fell into attentive silence as Sands’ crystal clear vocals rang out across the audience with the opening lyrics from her song “Love and Other Lies.” Sands sung from offstage, and the audience watched as the onstage screen switched from the Boston Calling logo to Charlotte Sands’ logo, shining in neon blue to match the artist's signature hair color.
After a heart pumping drum solo, Sands made her grand entrance performing a high energy rendition of the unreleased track “Tantrum.” With a stack of wristbands, including her “artist” wristband from her earlier performance at Forecastle Festival still tied around her wrist, Sands showed no signs of fatigue jumping across the stage and calling out to attendees.
As a hometown show, the performance had a special intimacy and vulnerability to it; Sands’s parents and siblings were in attendance. This resulted in a heartwarming moment during the performance of “Lost,” a song that is Sands's take on the standard teen-angst pop-punk song. Sands followed up the lyrics, “I got mad at my parents / So I dyed all my hair and/ Now we all go to therapy... I'm still pissed at my parents” by exclaiming “Sorry Mom!” prompting an outburst of laughter from attendees.
When Sands wasn’t channeling the rock star imagery of Avril Lavigne or Haley Williams, she took a moment to slow things down. On “Keep Me Up All Night” Sands delivered an emotionally raw performance. The singer perfectly blended a mix of emotionally charged strained vocals while still impressively belting out the heartbreak ballad.
As her set continued, audience engagement only intensified in a testament to Sands’s impressive songwriting and vibrant onstage presence. Aside from a few hardcore fans who came equipped with signs and memorized lyrics, many in the audience were new to Sands’ music. However, the artist proved her musical prowess to new and old fans alike as she won the crowd over. As the performance went on, the crowd grew from tentatively whispering the call and response lyrics to “Special” to emphatically shouting and fist pumping out the “hey, hey, hey” of “Lost.” By the set’s midpoint, it was clear that the attendees had bought into Sands’s rebellious pop-punk aesthetic.
“This song is about wearing whatever the fuck you want” said Charlotte Sands before closing out the show with her hit song “Dress.” It was a warm finale to a set that showed off Sands’ skills as both a songwriter and a vocalist.
It seemed that Sands’ Boston Calling performance was destined to work out regardless of the roadblocks she faced on the way there. Just minutes after her set concluded and the crowd dispersed, a severe weather warning led to the evacuation of the Harvard Athletic Complex along with a three hour delay. Luckily, Charlotte Sands gave a performance that made it well worth the hassle of waiting out the post-show rain delay; a wait that fittingly gave attendees a much needed opportunity to add a few new Charlotte Sands tracks to their playlists.
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