Hippo Campus invigorated the SteelStacks crowd on November 5th at the Musikfest Café. The band performed a dynamic line-up of alternative rock pieces with jazz inspired roots after a rousing opening by indie rock band The Greeting Committee. The concert brought a nice mix of Bethlehem locals and students together to enjoy a high energy performance in an intimate venue.
The Greeting Committee woke up the crowd with a performance of their newest album, I’m Afraid I’m Not Angry. The band’s danceable music was enhanced by lead singer Addie Sartino as she delivered lyrics with dramatic flair. One highlight of the show was their performance of the song “Simply Surviving,” which talks about the complex nature of life and how to survive difficulty. The complex drum patterns of the set, paired with the intricate guitar chords, showcased the technical abilities of the group. The Greeting Committee’s enjoyable performance pumped up the crowd for the main act.
When Hippo Campus walked on stage, the crowd hushed. The title song off their new album, Bambi, started slowly with a metronomic keyboard building into the melody of the song, kicking off their set with some low-key energy. The band performed hits from their beginnings and their most recent EPs. The song, “Way It Goes,” from their previous album, Landmark, featured beautiful vocals from Jake Luppen, who previously studied opera. Hippos Campus’s performance energized the crowd throughout the night as the audience, loyal fans singing every song, danced and jumped to their hits.
Hippo Campus’s songs feature a blend of rock, pop, and jazz that displays the influence of their college years. The band members, students at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, met in 2013 and soon began playing together. The band’s popularity continues to grow as they perform at festivals like Bonnarroo and Lollapalooza. The November show at SteelStacks marked the end of the east coast leg of their national tour and the wild energy of the South Side crowd suggests that their growing national prestige is not a fluke. Fans will be waiting eagerly here in Bethlehem when they hopefully visit us again in the coming years.