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HIPPO CAMPUS: A NEW SOUND AND BRINGING OLD SONGS BACK TO LIFE

Ev FussJun 1, 2023

Hippo Campus is an indie rock band from Saint Paul, Minnesota that has been recently experimenting with a more country sound. The band consists of members Jake Luppen, Nathan Stocker, Zach Sutton, Whistler Isaiah Allen, and DeCarlo Jackson. They have recently welcomed Samuel Calvo Rosenstone as a touring member on the keyboard.

Known for their songs “Buttercup” and “Way It Goes” off of their first album Landmark, Hippo Campus is typically associated with upbeat indie guitar riffs and rhythms. They experimented with more production on their EP Good Dog Bad Dream and their latest LP, lp3, adding more electronic beats as well as the use of synthesizers and voice modulation. Contrary to this, in their latest release, Wasteland, the band pulls inspiration from country bars and instrumentals to create a sound that fans weren’t expecting after lp3.

These images may be from their last tour, but I had the honor of seeing the bands transition from the lp3 tour to their Wasteland tour, which is currently still running. I saw them in Chicago at the Salt Shed on May 24th and two days later at the Anthem on May 26th. Fans were lined up for hours before the show with their cowboy hats ready for the performance. This tour offered a VIP experience where the band played songs they have not performed in years, including songs off of their first unreleased EP, Tarzan Reject.

The opener for the shows I saw and the general second half of this tour was Gus Dapperton and his band, which had an incredible stage presence and were a great start to a wonderful concert. This tour features the biggest venues that the band has played at, each venue hosting around 5,000 people. Though the tour was centered around Wasteland, the band revisited a lot of songs off their previous albums, playing some songs off of Landmark that haven’t been played since the original tour cycle for that album, such as “Vacation” and “Vines.” DC also got the treat of the song “Violet” off of one of the bands first EPs, South, as an encore.

Overall, Hippo Campus provided an amazing show as usual. Seeing them live the first time is what got me hooked on the band in the first place and taking photos for them last October was such an honor. Luppen and the other members each have a noticeable on-stage chemistry that brings energy into the audience no matter where you may be in the crowd. Since the lp3 tour, Luppen has been experimenting more with autotune on stage which brings a fun new sound to songs like “Poems” and “Sex Tape.” Each show is a truly unique experience and I would recommend seeing them to anybody, even if they have never really listened to the music before.

Keep up with Hippo Campus at https://hippocampus.band/

PHOTOS BY EV FUSS