Hippo Campus is a quartet from Minneapolis, Minnesota and play up their art-school indie rock roots. The band is lead by Jake Luppen whose falsetto and sultry croon are backed by breezy summer afropop that draws easy comparisons to Vampire Weekend and Spoon.

I managed to catch them at Baby’s All Right on Wednesday Night for an 8pm set time, the band played a 50 minute set full of every song on their debut E.P. “Bashful Creatures,” and a good deal of new songs from a forthcoming release.

The crowd was a noticeably young, and I was one of a minority of people with alcohol. The band played a mixture off their E.P. “Bashful Creatures” like “Souls,” “Suicide Saturday,” and “Little Grace.” The songs mixed danceable indie rock beats with heavy sweeping choruses. At their best moments Hippo Campus reminded me of math-rock group Battles mixed with The Dodos thanks to drummer Whistler Allen’s punctuated and oftentimes tribal drum patterns.

One thing that can not be stressed enough is how much Hippo Campus were teenage heartthrobs. The whole front row of females spent the concert swooning in the most hilarious ways. Every time Luppen would whisper something into bassist Zach Sutton’s ear, I could hear a chorus of sighs echo from all sides, and at least one person would scramble for their iPhone. At the end of their set, when the band was rocking out to “Violet,” Sutton’s glasses fell off, and immediately I saw a frenzy of black X’d hands holding out their phones, all capturing the moment of passion.

The band took the attention in stride, asking everyone to sing along and lead guitarist Nathan Stocker making jokes about how difficult it was to find parking in New York (which someone around me yelled “Just take a train!”) and true to their E.P. title, being bashful. Fresh with their new video, “Suicide Saturdays” and tours with My Morning Jacket and Modest Mouse, look for Hippo Campus to blow up in the coming months.


Article: Steven Klett

Cover Image: Bo Weber


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