Hippo Campus Warms Up a Cold Night

Charlie Pattinson

Charlie Pattinson, Staff Writer

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On what would have otherwise been a typical, boring Thursday night sitting at home procrastinating, I instead went out on the town with my old man. We hit up Wooly’s in the East Village to see the band Hippo Campus perform on the first night of their tour for their latest album, “Bambi”It was a sold out crowd, and people bundled up to brave the Iowa cold. By the time we got through the doors, coat check was sold out. Absolute fail. But, whatever. The indie rock duo Now, Now opened for Hippo Campus. It was alright, but they had some audio issues where the band was louder than the lead singer and all of her vocals mushed into the background parts. My dad noted to me the troubles with the microphones, and it was evident when the lead singer put her finger on her ear to try to hear herself on the second song. After about 45 minutes, Hippo Campus finally came on.

Hippo Campus is an indie rock band based out of St. Paul, Minnesota, where all members of the group attended the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts. They started releasing music in 2014, with EPs and singles. They dropped their debut album, “Landmark” on Feb. 27, 2017. Following that, they released their latest album “Bambi”, on Sept. 28, 2018. You can tell that these guys have serious musical chops, as almost every member of the band took lead vocals on at least one song. Just five short years ago, these dudes were my age. Now they are rocking to sold out crowds.

Their songs are typically around three minutes, and are all upbeat indie pop bangers. The show opened with the title track from their latest album, “Bambi”, which was a fun way to get the night started. Hippo Campus led with three of their most-listened-to songs on Spotify, and all were incredible to see live. The talent dripped off the stage, and it seems as though they all could be the lead singer of their own band or play another instrument if needed. The lead singer has a vast vocal range on most songs, easily transitioning from singing in a low octave to his falsetto. The crowd was in it to win it, and the band never lost people’s attention. When you play upbeat, happy songs at an incredibly high level of musicianship that is an easy thing to achieve. Not to mention, having a full time trumpet player is pretty dope. After a 19 song set, they came back out for one encore: “Buttercup”,  a light, bouncy song that actually turns into a full on banger by the end.

They make another stop in Iowa on April 22, at the Blue Moose Tap House in Iowa City. As of now, I am working an angle to get another college visit to the University of Iowa that day, and then see Hippo Campus again that night. I am quite jealous of my dad, who has already seen them three times. The first time he saw them, they were fresh out of high school and opening for My Morning Jacket. He was blown away by how good they are, and his takeaways were backed up by what I saw. If you have an opportunity to see them, you should. See you at the Blue Moose in April?

SET LIST:

  1. Bambi
  2. Golden
  3. Way It Goes
  4. Baseball
  5. Doubt
  6. Honestly
  7. Poems
  8. Monsoon
  9. Anxious – (Live Debut)
  10. Boyish
  11. South
  12. Simple Season
  13. No Pomegranates
  14. Why Even Try
  15. Think It Over
  16. Bubbles
  17. Chapstick
  18. Suicide Saturday
  19. Violet
  20. Buttercup
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