On the Jan. 31, the expressive and vibey indie-rock band Hippo Campus brought their new three-track EP and a glimpse of new music to a packed, denim shirt-laden crowd at the Gothic Theater. The band was joined by indie-pop openers, Sure Sure.
It was Sure Sure that started the night off with an impressive, high-energy producing opening set of dancy, synth-ruled pop songs. The band showed glimpses of strange, left of field song structure and beats in their songs, such the as weird yet strangely enticing “Hands Up, Heads Down” which is accompanied by an instructional, zombie -like pulsing dance.
After the high-energy opener, the crowd was treated to a perfect set by the headliner in a mix of up-tempo energetic songs and chiller, more ambient slow tracks. Hippo Campus started off the show with the beautifully melodic, choral tinged slow track, “Poems.” This slightly sadder, emotive song started the set off on a melancholic note, but this was replaced with a more lively bounce with two successive hits, “Suicide Saturday” and “Western Kids.” The group played through their relatively new (released on Sept. 12, 2017) EP “warm glow” in the album’s order, which was a treat for many of the fans eager to hear the newish songs live. As well, the band gave the insatiable crowd a glimpse of new material in the form of the performance of two brand new, unheard songs.
Both the songs went over quite well with the crowd, but the standout was the second track, which featured lead vocals and presumably lead songwriting by the band’s guitarist, Nathan Stocker. The song was an uptempo, slightly lofi sounding punkyier track, that appeared a little offset from the typical fare of the band. It was a success with the crowd though, and was met with raucous support.
The band finished off the night with a couple more fan favorites, the punchy “Buttercup” and the existential, poetic warmth of “The Way it Goes.” However the climax of the night was the encore track, the raging “Violet” which itself is probably the most popular of the group’s songs. The song was finished with a sonic puzzle of guitar solos and feedback, and it left most of the crowd exiting the theater sweaty and out of breath.
Hippo Campus is still a rather young band, but their musical output has been consistently excellent and their fantastic stage-presence and well-executed live show have elevated the band to a very professional position. The presumed release of new material, especially material written with the poetic language and springly guitar work that has come to represent their work, soon might push the band onto larger stages and higher success.