It was an oddly warm day in Minneapolis as I was sitting in the back of an uber coasting down Washington Avenue; Sweating so much I had to crack the window, I was eager to get to the Armory for two great acts. Hippo Campus was in town alongside Ginger Root and I was chomping at the bit just to get inside.
I got in line with hundreds of others, smiling at my ticket when I realized that this was the most people I’d seen at the place to date. What was I truly walking into? I had been here before but a local power-house band at a local venue? This wasn’t a normal occurrence. I got inside and found my usual favorite spot in the corner of the venue to take in what was going on around me.
My phone bill is expensive, and so must be the one Ginger Root pays while touring because their frontman, Cameron Lew, came out singing into a rigged telephone-type mic. Known for its “aggressive elevator” music sound, this California music project was a sight to see and a blast to hear live. Hits like “Loretta” and “Weather” are some to start with as this artist is really something special and I’d highly recommend checking them out if you’re a fan of indie and dare I say low-fi.
Ginger Root was jamming along when they shared that this was the biggest crowd they had ever played in front of… and this is where I point out the venue was sold-out and held around 6 thousand people last night.
It was truly a sight at this point; I hadn’t even realized that the long snaking line outside was still at a decent length when the opening act was wrapping up and taking their final bows. The lads in Hippo Campus had a warm and excited crowd waiting for them now.
It was 2016, I believe, when my friends were telling me about Hippo Campus over lunch; I was still in school. These guys (not much older than I) were local legends by college time, with several hits floating around me like “Little Grace” and “Suicide Saturday.” I won’t lie to you all – the fact my peers already knew of the band was a turn-off for This guy because I was a hipster like that – but with age and maturation I have found myself listening to these guys more and more; by 2018 I was a true fan of the brand, listening to them regularly and loving nothing more than “Bambi” to start any long drive. So, when I got the chance to see them – finally – it was like seeing Santa Claus.
Hippo Campus isn’t just the best band from Minnesota; they’re just one of the best bands in general. Their recent hits from LP3 are just a taste of the depth they have in terms of sound and fantastic music. You can pull them up on Spotify and hit “shuffle” and I bet you’ll find a few songs you like almost immediately; they’re that good, and damn catchy is how I’d describe their sound overall.
Indie? Sure. Hip and New? Absolutely. Minnesotan? That’s the best part in my opinion. They owned the stage as soon as they came out and by the time they were about halfway through the set, playing “Suicide Saturday” – I realized I was getting spoiled yet again by this job of mine. They kept true to their sound so expectations were met, yes, but their awe-striking and almost over-powering stage presence (lights and sound were PERFECT) blew me away. The crowd was singing along with each song start to finish and I was nearly drooling by the time the lights were coming on.
It was an absolute blast finally getting to see Hippo Campus live and I hope, if anything, this article gave you a taste of what they bring to the stage.