This past Wednesday, the pop-rock quartet Hippo Campus performed their first New York headlining show. Walking in, I had no idea what to expect. It was the night of my 21st birthday, and upon seeing that I was one of the few dudes, outnumbered by about 15:1, I immediately headed for the bar. After the Brooklyn based pop-rock group Little Racer ended, the four fresh-faced members of Hippo Campus began to set up their gear. The amount of energy that the quartet delivered from start to finish was incredible, as their vivaciousness and highly refined instrumental chemistry were more than enough to convince me that Hippo Campus are, most certainly, the real deal.
With only 6 tracks available on Spotify with a few live YouTube videos of unreleased or untitled material, the group put on an extremely stellar performance. Their sound contains a plethora of influences such as the falsetto harmonies of Local Natives
, the fluctuating crescendos and climaxes of WU LYF
, and the hook-laden riffs reminiscent of a pop-injected Bloc Party
While not only displaying an incredible array of technical talent, the band took full advantage of their stage presence, displaying their live versatility as commanding entertainers. They began to unofficially dub the names for their untitled and unreleased tracks after the parking spot they miraculously found in Williamsburg earlier that day, and Carolyn, one of the numerous swooning female fans that made up the tight-packed front rows. For younger bands, playing new, unrecognizable material may sometimes put dampers on shows, but for Hippo Campus, they seemed to never cease the natural flow of unrelenting vibrancy and liveliness. Some of the untitled tracks worked perfectly into the set, never hindering the band as their confidence illuminated their finely crafted numbers, making them all the more enjoyable.
I'm really looking forward to hear what these guys put out next. With a handful of European dates with Modest Mouse and Elle King, there's no reason to be looking over Hippo Campus, as their natural talent and powerful stage presence is something that will have people buzzing.