Hippo Campus: An Indie girl’s dream band comes to Cleveland


Courtesy of Tonje Thilesen

In February 2022, Hippo Campus, released their new album “LP3” in which the band gets deep with themes of loneliness and self-discovery.

Dasha Degterev, Layout Designer

When I bought tickets to the Hippo Campus concert in Cleveland, I didn’t know much about the band. I had heard a few songs here and there, and had liked them, but nothing much further than that. As my Uber pulled up to The Agora Theatre and Ballroom on Oct. 11, 2022, I was surprised to see such a long line of people about my age, many of their outfits fitting into the “indie aesthetic.”

The band started in Minneapolis in 2013, founded by lead singer Jake Luppen, guitarist Nathan Stocker, drummer Whistler Allen and bassist Zach Sutton, who all met in high school at St. Paul. A few years later, DeCarlo Jackson joined the band on trumpet. Their first album, “Landmark,” was released in spring 2017, reaching No. 140 in the Billboard 200. Since then the band has continued to gain traction, with the group accumulating over 100,000,000 listeners on their most popular song, “Buttercup,” with “Way it Goes” following closely behind.

The 2022 tour had music from a variety of the band’s albums, though it was centered around their new album, “LP3,” which was released in February 2022. By the time I had walked down to the main stage of the Agora, the venue was filled with anticipatory fans and a common excitement.

Anticipation only continued to grow as the crowd waited for the band; you could feel the tension in the room as the stage was being set up. Then, suddenly, the lights went off, and it was clear that the show was about to begin. I felt a euphoric, visceral excitement when the lead act made their first appearance. I joined in as screams erupted across the room. The band entered onto the stage—backed by an image of their album cover and lit by dark blue stage lights—and began to play their first song, “2 Young 2 Die.” The concert’s setlist was very diverse, with tear jerkers like “Monsoon” and “Ease Up Kid,” more upbeat songs like “Bad Dream Baby” and everything in between.

The band’s very active stage presence made you feel how excited they were to be performing their music in the theater. As Luppen and Stocker danced around the stage, all of the girls in the audience seemed to swoon. The band members were visibly hyping each other up on stage which made for a really fun performance. You could see their chemistry as a group and their love for their craft. The various lighting changes throughout the show were also visually interesting, changing from dark blue, to pink, to orange and green and so on. The band’s creativity in their music added to their performance. Luppen used vocal effects for part of the concert and various members switched guitars from electric to acoustic and back again. The band also uses a lot of sound samples in their music, making for a more interesting listening experience. Throughout the night, I got to hear a lot of new music from them and I loved every second of it. But the most anticipated and well-known song, and the only one I knew from them before the show, would come at the very end of the performance.

As the band left the stage, the audience started chanting for an encore, and after a minute they reappeared to monstrous cheering and played their two final songs of the night, “Poems,” and their most popular song, “Buttercup.” Overall, the show was an incredible experience and I left it having found a new band to fangirl over and enjoy.