Photographs by Katrina Lat.
Every once in awhile you can be standing in the crowd of a show and before the band even takes to the stage you can tell it’s going to be a good one. Perhaps it’s the energy of the crowd, or the vibes in the room, or some deep psychological phenomenon that us mere mortals cannot explain. Either way that was the type of feeling that was circling through the air on a rainy monday evening at the Horseshoe Tavern where Hippo Campus were all set to headline.
They kicked off the night with one of their most popular hits off their new album “Way It Goes”. While it sure is an interesting tactic to start the night off with one of your most well known songs it really seemed to work perfectly. It wasn’t even two minutes into the show and the entire crowd was already singing every word; it really is the perfect way to engage the crowd as a whole right from the start, whether they are casual listeners or dedicated fans.
From there on they played a grand mix of both their newer songs like “Monsoon” “Western Kids” and “Boyish” and their older hits like “Suicide Saturday” “Violet” and “Close To Gold”. Alongside this mix of old and new there was also a very harmonious mix of both upbeat and laid back songs. It was a pleasant surprise to see how they translated their recorded music into more upbeat live songs; it added another layer of energy to the show. While it is one thing for the music to bring the energy it is another thing entirely when the band brings it. This band brought a charismatic energy with them on to the stage and that alone is what brought the show from being good to being god damn amazing. They rocked out in a fashion that bared a close resemblance to what you would expect at a punk rock basement show. At one point the bass player, Zach Sutton, was rocking out so hard with guitarist, Nathan Stocker, that his glasses quite literally flew off his face. Also you can’t forget to mention that fact that lead singer, Jake Luppen, dumped an entire water bottle on himself in a last ditch attempt to cool down mid show. With the type of passion that they possessed it would be nearly impossible for that insane energy to not pass on to the crowd.
There are so many different factors that contribute to a fan having an overall good experience at a show; the setlist, the stage set up, the music quality etc. Yet from time and time again I have found the most important one to be nothing more than how much the band physically puts into their show. As a member of a crowd there is nothing that can enhance your experience more than watching a band give it absolutely everything they have. So Hippo Campus may offer us Luppen’s breathtaking vocals, Sutton’s effortless ability to be the coolest bass played to ever grace this planet, Stocker’s ability to rock out a solo while being blinded by the thick wall that is his hair, and of course drummer, Whistler Allen’s, ability to hold the entire show together with his beats. Yet on top of all of that they execute it all with an energy that is quite literally unbeatable, so do yourself a favor and go see this band.