Last Thursday, I got to see Hippo Campus perform for the second time at the House of Blues San Diego, and I must say it was one of the best shows I have seen in a while. It was only the third day of March and I’ve planned on seeing a few artists this month, like YG, The Shins, and MØ, but Hippo Campus is going to be a hard show to beat.
Hippo Campus is an indie rock band from St. Paul Minnesota. Front man Jake Luppen, guitarist Nathan Stocker, bassist Zach Sutton and drummer Whistler Allen met in high school and formed the band in 2013. They released their debut EP, Bashful Creatures, and their debut studio LP, Halocine, in 2015. In late February, the quartet released their debut album titled Landmark. Now ranging from 21 to 23 years old, the boys of Hippo Campus are fully competent of putting on a memorable performance. In an interview with NME Magazine, Luppen said, “There are four bands that we really connected over: Last Dinosaurs, Little Comets, Wu Lyf and Bombay Bicycle Club.” Not only do I hear Bombay Bicycle Club vibes, but I also hear John Mayer and Two Door Cinema Club vibes, just proving how much talent these guys have. They are signed in the United States and United Kingdom to Grand Jury Records, who houses Daywave and the opening act, Avid Dancer; and Transgressive Records, who houses Foals and, what do you know, Two Door Cinema Club!
I was only able to catch a few songs of the alternative rock opener, Jacob Dillion Summers, who goes by the stage name of Avid Dancer. He has a live touring unit with him. The musicians were all center stage, so someone who hasn’t heard of Avid Dancer could not point out that Summers is the “front man.” They ended with their hit “Stop Playing with My Heart.” He recently released a single called “Silk,” but there are no details on a new album yet.
Hippo Campus made an entrance and sang hit after hit. It honestly seemed like every song was a single because everybody knew the words to every song. They sang classics like “Suicide Saturday” and “South” off the EPs and the crowd went wild. The room radiated with positive energy and you could not help but notice the chemistry on stage and how much the boys love what they’re doing. Another song that stood out was “Monsoon,” a beautiful track that Luppen built with loop effects, and when he chimed in his vocals, the crowd swooned, swaying their hands left and right. Luppen’s range is so incredible, but he’s not the only singer in the band. Something unique about them is that at least every one of them had a solo and I loved seeing how each of them had their own spotlight. They finished with “Violet” as their encore song.
I could not stop grinning during as well as after the show. The one issue I had with the show is how they didn’t sell out the house. I would sincerely see these boys again and hopefully with a bigger crowd because the vibes would be too good to miss. Catch me listening to Hippo Campus as we prepare for spring break and sunshine for days.
Written by Cassidy Ta