featuring The Districts
October 27, 2018 at The House of Blues
Not even heavy rain and 30 mph wind could stop a line from forming out the door of House of Blues for the Hippo Campus concert. The rain didn’t bring down anyone’s mood as we hustled our way into the warm venue. We waited for the opener, The Districts, to make their way on to the stage, anticipating the energy they would give the room. The audience welcomed them with open arms as they put on an enthusiastic rock show. I overheard one audience member summarize them perfectly: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone headbang while playing an acoustic guitar.” In each song, they captured the grit of an American rock band with an acoustic indie twist. It was fascinating to watch the guitarist bounce around like a firecracker on stage, hair flopping and plaid shirt blowing. I was surprised to realize that I knew their song ‘Ordinary Day’, making this not only a great opener, but a familiar one as well.
The Hippo Campus tour was to promote the band’s new album Bambi, so it only made sense that they opened with the song ‘Bambi’. During the song, the trumpet built up the room with excitement, making it a perfect introduction for the rest of the show. Let me emphasize: I love the trumpet player. I think they placed DeCarlo Jackson near the back of the stage because he would’ve stolen the entire show if he had been at the front. During his trumpet solo in ‘That’s the Way It Goes,’ he radiated pure soul and energy. Even when he wasn’t playing, watching him dance along brought a smile to my face. Jackson is truly the most underrated member in the band and that’s saying a lot, considering how talented the entire band is at performing.
Jake Luppen, lead vocalist, carried a strong voice with a huge range throughout every song. He kept his eyes closed at the start, appearing almost timid. As the concert progressed and he sensed the audience’s approval, he began experimenting with his facial expressions and movements. At some points, he stuck out his tongue, widening his eyes. At other points, he locked out his hips and fell into the dance groove of songs like ‘Simple Season.’ By the end of the concert, The entire band got more and more comfortable. During the encore, the guitarist and bassist shared a kiss while Luppen belted out ‘Violet,’ rousing up the crowd and creating an exhilarating ending.
The most intimate part of the concert was during their most popular song ‘Monsoon.’ They slowed it down and let the song draw itself out, making the largeness of the House of Blues feel like an intimate venue. It was a delicate moment amid the excitement and dancing, making the audience feel more connected with the band. A sweet interlude added in the middle of the song suspended it in air, allowing the audience to appreciate the moment.
Hippo Campus put on a great set that diverged just enough from its studio album format without becoming unfamiliar to the audience. They managed to showcase all the members’ talents and the success of every single song impressed me. The show proves that they aren’t just a run-of-the-mill indie rock band that’s going to fade out. Their raw talent can only lead them to a lasting impact of success (especially with that trumpet player).