On Friday, December 1st, College of Charleston’s own record label 1770 Records hosted the eighth Annual Boat Show on none other than the Charleston Princess, with sparky acts– Lilly Hartle, Pity Points, Tree Limbs, and Flatspell.
The Boat Show is the event of the year that’s guaranteed to sell out and has only continued to impress over time with hospitality aspects that were noticeable since I last attended in 2018 & 2019… they even had gluten-free pizza. With records for sale, four floors, and a fully-stocked bar, the crowd was eager to set sail along the Charleston coastline with a packed four hours of a 1770 handpicked lineup with entirely local bands.
The evening officially began when a couple of individuals tried to sneak some mini bottles down the hatchet and were graciously called out over the boat intercom, followed by whispers of everyone discussing the short-lived scandal– the Charleston Princess finally set sail.
To kick off the bill, we had Lilly Hartle, the five-piece group that only formed in September of this year. Singer/songwriter Hartle is originally from Nashville and moved to Charleston to attend the College where she met other members Grace Kreider (bass), Aiden Johnson (keys), Oliver Wlasiuk (guitar), and Christian Dehlbom (drums) along the way. Hartle filled the set with four originals and two covers including The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” and Beach Bunny’s “Prom Queen”.
Downstage was quickly occupied with rows of students and other concertgoers (a.k.a. “old people” according to the gossip in the girl’s bathroom) while the upper deck held the social floor. The zephyr-like ripple of the waves surrounded all parameters of the vessel, accompanied by bluesy keys, confident vocals, and the surprise attendance of bursting firework illuminations in the distance.
This group showed off many edges of their instrumental gamut and started off the set with “Rearview” the 5-minute whimsically honest single released back in September that immediately captured the attention of the main and top deck.
With the lack of female-led bands in Charleston, Lilly Hartle gave the modern-day Riot Grrrl energy this city’s been lacking. With Olivia Rodrigo-like energy behind emotive lyrics, this performance turned out to be my top pick of the night.
Lilly Hartle on the Charleston Princess (Photos by @hayesmartini)
Next up were classic indie rockers Pity Points, a four-piece including Brooke Schaefer (keys), Tyler Ford (bass), Drew Prentice (guitar), and Liam Coker (lead vocalist and guitar) plus Aiden Roff on drums. This group of friends brought their relatable, ‘awkwardly cool’ energy with originals like “I Never Told You I Love You” which lead vocalist & guitarist Liam Coker pointed out was a song about how he “can’t talk to girls” – everyone appreciated his honesty with claps and chuckles.
The setlist contained an assortment of covers including Edna Goldfish’s “Veronica Sawyer” and The Beach Boys’ “All I Wanna Do” that triggered the masses to move from the upstairs balcony and eventually filled out the main deck in a crowded yet classic Boat Show fashion.
The Charleston Princess began its approach to the Ravenel Bridge, and was eerily accessorized by the misty fog descending from all directions – and let me make it clear that the view was downright illusory.
Pity Points on the Charleston Princess (Photos by @hayesmartini)
Extra Chill Fest alumni Tree Limbs were the third act to go on after the crowd indulged in a little hiatus to refill on drinks, socialize, and from the smell of it take part in a little puff of the magic dragon on the deck – as security went on the lookout for the perps almost immediately. Tree Limbs began with throwing in the mention that a year ago today was the first time they played all together as a band.
They played originals with an angsty appeal that drew in definitive independents including 80s retro synths, a laid-back sway, and an abundance of subdued libretto. The shrieking groupies gathered around all corners to get the best view of the influential and unhurried dudes as they finished out their set.
Tree Limbs on the Charleston Princess (Photos by @hayesmartini)
Flatspell finished out the exceptional night with a stellar set that coerced concert-goers to take full advantage of the once-in-a-year show, giving their last bit of energy to these guys. The group is composed of Ross Hamburger (lead vocals) who jumped off sound duty and headed right to set,
Daniel Guy (lead guitar), Bobby Moss (bass), and Jake Riley (drums). Flatspell was one for the books as they didn’t hold anything back from the yearning herd of students, wanting to absorb all bits from the end of the event. Including original pieces and sealing the night with Kings of Leon’s “Sex On Fire,” Flatspell struck the audience with an immense amount of remarkable flair that cannot not be buried.
Flatspell on the Charleston Princess (Photos by @hayesmartini)
The talent scouted for this show has never disappointed. I’m especially eager to see how 1770 Records evolves as a club, and how they can further contribute to providing performance opportunities for CofC students in the future.
Oh, and a huge shoutout to Heather McDonald for always prioritizing the Arts Management department and never falling short in supporting her students!