Hippo Campus is a band that sounds just as good live as on recording, if not better. It is this talent paired with bashful energy and boyish charm that makes their shows so comfortable and enjoyable. As someone that has had the pleasure of seeing them twice, I can confirm this ambience as well as that their shows are an experience that transcends mundane reality.
Their songs already have an abstract quality to them, with biting lyrics that toy with minimalistic imagery and atypical phrasing coupled with buoyant guitar parts and powerful drums. On top of that, the visual aspect of the show enhances this layered quality. The light overtaking the boys constantly transitioning between and within songs, from a golden glow to a red haze to a pink/purple fluorescence.
It also needs to be addressed that DeCarlo Jackson’s presence, as he played trumpet for various tracks on Landmark and has joined Hippo for this tour, makes each performance that much better. His additions and solos, even on songs originally not recorded with a trumpet part, contribute to a fuller sound that further intensifies Hippo Campus’ already solid one.
On a personal note, there is something special about getting to see your favorite band and your favorite song live not once but twice. There was an astounding, spellbinding kind of energy in that sold out venue as Nathan Stocker (guitar/vocals) yelled out the lines “I’ll be fine, I’m alright, it’s my body” during “Buttercup.” The bridge of the song was an undeniable catalyst for the entire room as everyone in it erupted and tore apart into fits of jumping and yelling and smiling.