Hippo Campus at College Street Music Hall, New Haven

Paige Pezzella

Hippo Campus is one of those bands that flies mostly under the radar, but when brought into the limelight, they shine. Their stage presence is infectious, their talent is undeniable, and the music they create is memorable and relatable. 

Am I a little bit biased? Yes. They are my favorite band.

Anyone who meets me learns my name first and then my love of Hippo Campus. But regardless, it is simply indisputable that those guys know how to perform. The band consists of Jake Luppen (lead singer), Nathan Stocker (lead guitarist), Whistler Allen (drummer), Zach Sutton (bass player), and Decarlo Jackson (trumpet/percussion), these childhood friends hailing from St. Paul, Minnesota are nothing short of fantastic. 

College Street Music Hall in New Haven, Connecticut is an amazing venue for a band as interactive and captivating as Hippo Campus. With tiered seating in general admission, a balcony, and a tremendous amount of room, this venue was comfortable, inviting, and spacious. I was fortunate enough to be at the barricade for this concert, and they were so close to us that I nearly forgot they were real people until I saw them sweating under the stage lights. 

One of my favorite parts of a Hippo Campus concert is the genuine joy that the band feels when the crowd sings their songs. You can tell how much they love the art they create, and it makes it impossible to not sing and dance along with them. 

The same can be said for the opener, Chai, a four-piece Japanese band consisting of twins Mana and Kana, bassist Yuuki and drummer Yuna. They wasted no time entering the stage and bringing energy, fun, and what they describe as Neo-Kawaii, which is the sentiment that all girls are pretty from the moment they’re born, and every girl is kawaii!

Overall, I had a blast at this concert. Jake Luppen could literally just scream into the microphone for two hours and I would cheer at the top of my lungs. But luckily, Luppen has the voice of an angel, and the rest of the band all complement each other in a conglomeration of indie-rock goodness. 

I thank the universe every day that I live in a world where Hippo Campus exists. Their music has made me laugh, cry, jump for joy and contemplate my life choices (sometimes all in one song)! I encourage everyone (yes, everyone) to listen to their music and seize an opportunity to watch them perform live. It is an experience you won’t forget.