LIVE REVIEW: Hippo Campus // Toronto, ON


On May 1st Hippo Campus brought their Bambi tour to Toronto for a vibrant night at the Phoenix concert theatre. The show opened with an energetic performance from alternative/indie band Samia. The lead singer refused to stop moving, working the stage from side to side, climbing the platform behind the drums and crawling on the ground in her passion. It was the kind of performance that guarantees they left with new fans that will catch them next time they are in town:

Next was the reason that many fans had waited for hours outside in the pouring rain. Hippo Campus took the stage, which had fun items placed around it, including a fitting VHS copy of Disney’s Bambi, and a mannequin head. Although it was gloomy outside, it was nothing less than summer inside. Opening with their tour namesake, Bambi, the crowd was instantly on board singing every word.

Their relaxed guitar melodies are a joy to dance to. With at times three members on guitar, it was magical to listen to their melodies intertwine and play with each other. Adding to the fun (although too far back on the stage in my brass-loving opinion) was DeCarlo Jackson, energizing the crowd on the bright flugelhorn, as well as extra percussion and bass or guitar when called for.

The set crescendoed with the dual-natured Bubbles, the frantic second verse accompanied by an explosive burst of flashing lights. It’s no wonder that when around halfway through the set when a few crowd members yelled at the stage asking for some water, lead singer Jake Luppen was happy to oblige, tossing a water bottle into the crowd and demanding that everyone share. They had their fair share of mellow moments as well, most notably the devastatingly beautiful Monsoon.

The setlist was a joy for longtime fans, containing a pretty even mix of songs from their first two EP’s, their first full-length album Landmark, and their latest album Bambi. They even played an energetic new track called No Pomegranates which features guitarist Nathan Stocker on lead vocals.

They left the stage, although with fans screaming for more, they had to come back and play one last song. And it couldn’t be any other than their deceivingly bright fan favourite, Buttercup. As they sang in the last verse “Holy hell, I can tell that you hate me,” nothing could have been farther from the truth, if the way the crowd happily sang and danced along was anything to go by:

Hippo Campus has dates lined up in the US until the beginning of August, you can find more info on their website here so you don’t miss out!

Stay up to date with Hippo Campus: Instagram // Facebook // Twitter

Words by Zoe Orion
Photos by Hannah Maynes


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