Hippo Campus Sells Out First Ave 3/11 + 3/12!!!
With words by Julia Kindall and Photographs by Connor Siedow
On march 11th and 12th Hippo Campus headlined two sold out shows at First Avenue, making this their third sold out show at the venue in the past two years. The significance of dates, numbers, and statistics, almost pales in comparison to some of the more personal landmarks of the two evenings. On March 11th, Hippo Campus followed their opener, a band by the name of The Happy Children. While on the second evening, The Magic City Hippies, a Miami based band started the show following a west coast tour the two bands embarked on together, and will continue at the end of this month. The Happy Children are a rambunctious, slobbery mouthed trio of Twin Cities natives spawned from Minneapolis’ own Normal Parents. The Happy Children have been described as The Beach Boys meets Death Grips, on a long winding road to nowhere. Their sound and presence are feverish and colorful, collecting around the notion that “They Have No Power”. The Happy Children recently debuted a four track EP entitled “Small Talk”, and along with making obvious waves in the Twin Cities music scene, members Caleb Hinz, Judah Mccoy, and Mitchell Seymour connect with the members of Hippo Campus on a much more personal level. The members of both Hippo Campus and The Happy Children attended SPCPA. SPCPA is a downtown St. Paul performing arts high school, stationed at the time in the beautiful and historic building: The Landmark Center. I myself, spent four virtuous and semi-awkward years at SPCPA, hence my tenderness towards the monumental nature of it all.
Flashback to August 2013: A crew of friends shuffle into Caleb Hinz’ basement bedroom. It’s sweaty, and sticky, and yet the feeling of impending end and new beginning saturate the Summer evening. The kind of premature nostalgia you feel for something you know you will one day ache to remember. Hippo Campus members Jake Luppen, Zach Sutton, Nathan Stocker, and Whistler Allen had been a band for under a year, and yet the few songs we knew sent us all into a flurry of dance and emotional hysterics. Popular songs such as “Little Grace” and “Violet” lived and breathed for one of the first times that evening in 2013, while the night was rightfully ended with an emotional rendition “The Halocline.” These tracks you can hear on the Band’s two EPs: “Bashful creatures” and “south.” An evening we will surely never forget. At the time, no one could have foreseen the future, or the way in which a basement would one day become a sold-out venue. Or how three friends (The Happy Children) would wander home from a college in Olympia Washington to start a band, or that all our friends would one day play on stage all together again.
Flash Forward to March 2017: Hippo Campus sells out First Avenue, accompanied by longtime friend, musician, and SPCPA alumni Decarlo Jackson, in conjunction with the February release of their first full Length album, “Landmark.” A sea of past basement dwellers and friends huddle backstage to watch as hundreds of people already know all the words. And as The Happy Children’s Caleb Hinz hops on stage for the album’s final anthem “Buttercup” the crowd cheers in seeming acknowledgement of the importance of memory and camaraderie. Ideals I have found to be transcendent to the masses. Providing the illusion that perhaps each of these boys is someone you too grew up with.