Last night Hippo Campus took their smooth sailing set to The Loving Touch in Ferndale, Michigan. With a 350 capacity room and a sold-out show, the venue felt cozy and surprisingly alive on a Tuesday night.
Miami-based Magic City Hippies got the audience sweaty and closer to the stage before Hippo Campus came on around 10 p.m. Midway through their set they announced they had just found out that they will be playing at the cafe stage at Bonnaroo this summer.
Bass player John Coughlin stuck around after the last song of the night ended. He said that the band is stoked to play Bonnaroo and will most likely camp the traditional Bonnaroo way with tents instead of sleeping in their van.
“We imagine camping will be a lot like living on the road … so that means less showers and that’s nothing we aren’t already used to,” Coughlin said.
Vocalist Robby Hunter admitted that they listen to several podcasts while traveling. He said that one of their current favorites is “My Favorite Murder,” and that they’re always looking for fan suggestions on what to listen to next.
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Hippo Campus started off their set with a few of their new songs off their debut album Landmark which came out in February.
Judging by their casual appearance, all of the band members could fit in playing a local house show at a university, but their infectious guitar skills snapped that reality out of the picture about three songs in.
Bassist Zach Sutton’s calm, practiced playing was distinctive and was a crucial element that balanced the high-strung energy of Jake Luppen.
However, the microphones they used gave a little too much feedback and made it difficult to understand Luppen’s vocals at times. This did not seem to upset the Minnesota-bred band nor the majority of the crowd.
Those who stood near the front of the stage fed off the drums and lead guitar so much that there bodies or at least a small part of their bodies were constantly syncing to the beats of the songs.
Their performance of “Way It Goes” was the right blend of excitement for the people they were playing to and their own unedited joy of performing. The song is their own way of joking about the very culture they are currently immersed in.
Guitarist Nathan Stocker jokingly commented on the excessive amount of cell phone use in between songs.
The crowd was a healthy trail mix, by that I mean there were dads with their daughters, a few middle-aged men and college kids with ample time (or dedication) on a weeknight.
Shoving and pushing was not a big issue and mainly everyone in the front area respected each other’s head banging space. The only time that felt a little rowdy was during “Suicide Saturday,” which is one of the catchiest songs the band has claim to.
It was a little bizarre seeing the various age groups sing the word “suicide,” but it was also a nice reminder that music is transcendental for multiple perspectives.
Since the venue is named “The Loving Touch,” it was only appropriate that it felt a little too warm during the show. All of the members of the band had nice amounts of sweat falling around them toward the end and it was refreshing to see that they too felt like they were being slow-cooked in a microwave oven.
An encore was not in the cards for dedicated fans that stuck around after the show, but they poured themselves into the set that it was practically a forgivable offense in the current concert expectations of a college student.
Hippo Campus will wrap up their spring tour soon, but they will are set to shake up some fans and new audiences at Lollapalooza and Bonnaroo this summer.
Check out their debut Landmark below.