Hippo Campus started off their performance at the Sylvee with their hit song, “Bambi,” which is also the name of their tour. As soon as they started running onstage, full of enthusiasm, the audience cheered for them. The band filled the night with their alternative rock jams, and the audience loved every bit of it.
Opening for Hippo Campus Friday was Samia, an artist who takes hold of her music and her sexuality. I loved the free spirit Samia portrayed onstage, her outfit and her lack of shoes. Playing barefoot while swinging around her hair and moving her hips made for a light-hearted performance with sincere lyrics.
Samia played while grabbing her breasts, bouncing on stage, kneeling in front of the other musicians on stage, and kissing her female guitarist at the end of the performance.
After reading poetry in sixth grade, Samia became obsessed with playing music. Her lyrics reflect this. Their meaning goes deeper than that of typical pop songs. Samia writes at her most emotionally distressed, which makes for honest music.
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“I would say that I try not to take myself seriously, but I definitely take the song seriously,” Samia said.
I loved this about her performance. Her free-loving vibe mixed well with her sentimental music. And beside her overall attire and movements, Samia has a great voice. At the concert, she could easily drop from a soft, high note to a deep, low note. She primarily played her own music, but she also covered the song “Barracuda.”
Samia said she’s having a great time on tour with Hippo Campus. In fact, she said Hippo Campus is treating her better than she ever expected.
“[Hippo Campus] is so nice and incredibly accommodating, which is not necessary of a headlining band,” Samia said. “They don’t have to be so cool and welcoming, which they are, which means the world.”
After Samia’s performance ended, the audience waited during a long break for Hippo Campus to perform.
Making up Hippo Campus are lead vocalist/guitarist Jake Luppen, lead guitarist/vocalist Nathan Stocker, bassist/keyboardist Zach Sutton, percussionist/vocalist Whistler Allen, and trumpeter DeCarlo Jackson.
Throughout the concert, the band members maintained a high energy level. The lighting in the show helped emphasize their rock music. On many dramatic notes, the lights would flash or pop at specific beats. It flashed at words like “love,” “say” and “want.”
While musicians like Stocker or Sutton would be featured in a song, the lights might dim on Luppen. But right as his lines came on, the lights would flash onto him as he’d loudly sing into the microphone. In the song “South,” for example, Stocker had the spotlight to himself as he rocked out.
Though most people were singing along with the band, it wasn’t a concert one needed to know the lyrics to. The band was extremely engaging, and they held the audience’s attention for the entirety of the show.
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Their music was relatively upbeat. It had the same fast-paced beat for the majority of it, but each song had a different meaning based off its lyrics. They did play “Monsoon,” however, which was a much slower song.
I thoroughly enjoyed the performance. It was easy to dance to, especially in the heat of the mob. Not only was the energy of the band high, but also the energy of the audience.
Stocker even directly engaged with the audience. Judging the Sylvee’s interior, Stocker divided the group into three sections. He told the upper section to yell “we” on command, the section behind the mob to yell “love” and the mob to yell “you,” as he pointed to each section. The audience excitedly participated, and all together the separate groups told Hippo Campus that they’re loved.
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Luppen was jumping onto the drummer’s set in songs like “Suicide Saturday.” The band’s energy raised the crowd’s enthusiasm and kept them engaged throughout the three-hour show, including Samia’s performance.
After the band walked offstage at the end, the audience shined their phone lights, begging for one more song. Hippo Campus agreed, after a long pause backstage.
I expect a great concert when I go to the Sylvee, but Hippo Campus and Samia exceeded my expectations. The crowd turnout was great, the music was fantastic and the bands were marvelous.