Hippo Campus exceeds recorded album sound

Gabbi calabrese/The Arka Tech "Hippo Campus is an extraordinary band and their live performances speak volumes to musical honesty."

In my life, it seems as if reality rarely reaches my expectations. I spent the entirety of my summer and this semester eagerly awaiting October 30 because I got to see Hippo Campus, an indie band that I adore with all my heart, perform in Fayetteville at George’s Majestic Lounge. When the day finally arrived, I was practically skipping around all day because I was so excited. There was a nervous niggle in the back of my mind, though, bracing me for disappointment.

But I was not disappointed. At all. Hippo Campus put on an extraordinary show that I haven’t been able to stop gushing about.

My friend and I got VIP tickets, which included a private three-song acoustic performance and Q and A session before the concert, which was an incredible experience. The acoustic songs were absolutely stunning. The band members all met at their performing arts high school, so they’re formally trained and it is evident. Even the raw, stripped down versions of their songs displayed flawless technique. In the question and answer portion, the guys were all genuine and funny. Admittedly, they did seem exhausted and not as enthusiastic as I was hoping, though I’m not surprised because they just returned from a fairly long European tour.

When it came time for the main show, I was fortunate enough to score a front-row spot. The opening band, Remo Drive, did an excellent job hyping up the crowd with their energetic set. I made sure to look them up after the concert because I enjoyed their performance so much.

From the moment Hippo Campus stepped on the stage, I was awestruck. Somehow their music is even better live than it is on the recorded album. I think a large part of that is due to the liberties they take with their music when they’re playing live. They add so much more energy and anticipation to their songs and take bolder measures with the vocals and the instrumentation. There was one point when the vocalist hit a note that was so beautiful I took to the floor.

While they seemed a bit lax during the VIP part of the night, there was no lack of liveliness on the stage, despite how chill and wavy their music is in nature. They were spirited and entertaining and incredible. They were even a little bit awkward in the most charming way.

Hippo Campus is an extraordinary band and their live performances speak volumes to musical honesty. Their concert was transformative and I feel like I’ve grown as a person because of it. In February, they will be performing in Colombia, Missouri, and, even though it is a five-and-a-half-hour trip, I will be first in line to see them at that concert. Their first full-length album and their EPs can be found anywhere online that music is available.