Charlotte Sands // AJA // Emi Jeen // The “Can We Start Over? EU/UK Tour” // Live Review // Styles // Leeds

Charlotte Sands // AJA // Emi Jeen // The “Can We Start Over? EU/UK Tour” // Live Review // Styles // Leeds


As I drove to Leeds, the rain pouring down, I found myself wondering how busy tonight’s show will be. Download has just finished, with people packing up home only the day before, and it’s midweek. I kept my expectations on a tight leash, but there were many people tonight to catch Charlotte Sands on her “Can We Start Over” world tour.

Emi Jeen came on with a great energy that carried on the vibe throughout the set. The singer was accompanied by two touring members, a drummer and guitarist, but managed to hold the stage as a soloist. The drummer deserves a shout-out though, when the camera pointed at her she’d always pose (showing another great feat of always being aware and present during the set, which for drummers can mean they get taken out of the rhythm but not this one!).

The vocalist came down at one point to sing their song “Tired & Lonely” with the crowd at the barrier. The audience pulled out their phone torches on command and swayed them side to side with the singer. I could see that the moment meant a lot to the barrier crowd as they watched intently and with smiles on their faces. Seeing a vocalist not afraid to make eye contact during a song and sing directly to fans is great.



Next was AJA. There’s a new term going around called “heavy pop” and this line-up is a great fit into that category. It’s got all the lyrical angst of someone like Olivia Rodrigo with the instruments of bands like We the Kings. The singer was joined by two touring members providing the instrumental live sounds. The vocalist broke out into a cover of “Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish and honestly, it’s refreshing hearing a cover of a song that isn’t 10+ years old.

AJA had a great casual vibe with the audience and was constantly moving between sides, interacting with each end of the crowd. The vocalist would be singing directly to the fans and carrying the responsibility of interaction with great confidence, even getting the crowd to do some classic clap on the beat. The crowd were being receptive and though not exactly a musician to do circle pits to, I could see the audience bobbing their heads.

It’s definitely hard to see two great musicians performing to a crowd where it’s maybe half full, because people didn’t want to get down early to catch the support. It’s a trend becoming more and more common. I can see why the venue was upgraded for this tour. Probably double the capacity of The Key Club were here tonight, but there was still plenty of room left in the venue and I can’t imagine the amount of people who missed out on these performances because it was a Tuesday.



Charlotte Sands came on to a blacked out stage. Me with my camera, looking, thinking “nah there must be some fancy lights gonna go off at the drop.” And boy did they. Some of the best stage lighting I’ve seen, I must say. The performance by Charlotte Sands is incredible. The entire stage was so well put together, it’s hard to deny the impact she has on the audience. It would’ve been great if the touring members spent more time near the stage or interacting with the audience, as they were placed right at the back of the stage almost like they were trying to be out of view.

Charlotte’s vocals are so strong and really encompass that whole “heavy pop” sub genre. The crowd lit up immediately as the singer opened with “Can We Start Over?”. Like the soloists before her, she was great at leading the stage and interacting beyond the barrier. There were some incredible notes she reached, the crowd woo-ing everytime she belted out a lyric. Charlotte made sure to introduce each song before she started, which is always great as no one really does that anymore. Each time she would announce the song, there would be a manic scream from the pit. The people are ready to tear their vocal chords trying to keep up with the high notes.

Charlotte Sands put on an amazing show, made even better by great stage lighting. AJA and Emi Jeen had a great energy to build up the audience for the main act and keep that vibe going through the night. Charlotte has a few more days of tour left promoting her latest album, before some festival appearances later in the year. AJA is releasing new singles periodically throughout the year and Emi Jeen just released an EP this year for people to check out.


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