Hippo Campus, Minnesota’s own Pop/Rock rising stars, are a study in paradox. Barely old enough to drink legally, they have opened for My Morning Jacket, will be playing several shows at South by Southwest next week and have been on Conan twice. Classically trained at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, their music is at home on college radio as well as commercial stations. Since their start in 2013, they have gained a cult following with fans young and old. 2017 saw the release of their first full studio album aptly names “Landmark”. They are also seasoned road warriors having toured the UK last fall and many US shows this year. With 2 EP’s and their first full length recording, under their belt, the guys came home to 2 sold out shows at First Avenue this weekend.
Being an all-ages show, the crowd on Sunday night was a diverse conglomerate of young and old, with a heavy dose of millennials. Miami based Magic City Hippies opened the show. Their sound was an eclectic mix of Hip Hop, Funk and R&B. The crowd was totally engaged; MCH’s music transporting them to a cabana beach bar. They were a sweet diversion from the snowy night. Between sets, there was a magic moment when the crowd sang a rousing version of The Pina Colada Song.
Hippo Campus hit the stage around 8:20. It was immediately evident that there was a special bond with the hometown crowd many of whom saw them for the second time in two days. The guys fed on the excitement of a room full of fans who were intimately connected to the band. It’s astounding the level of musicianship these guys have. My eyes saw kids with instruments but my ears heard mature, polished performers. Authentic lyrics, wise beyond their years, touched on topics everyone can relate to. And the crowd knew word. These guys are going to put Minneapolis Pop once again on the musical map.