Hippo Campus• April 2, 2022• The Union
Reviewed and Photographed by Evelyn Salazar
Let me start off by saying that Hippo Campus is my favorite band and seeing them live is always something indescribable for me. But I will try my best to be objective! On Saturday, April 2, 2022, Hippo Campus returned to Salt Lake City, Utah after three years! I can’t even believe it had been that long since the last time they were here. But you know, thanks Covid. It was an exciting night because up to this point this would be their biggest headlining show to date. I think that’s quite an honor!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again but the fan base they have here in Utah is absolutely insane! It makes me so proud of how far they have come in the last few years. The very first time I saw them live, was their very first time in Salt Lake City in 2015. They were the openers at a Kilby Court show and the ticket was only $6! I even got to meet them after that show and they were all incredibly nice which just makes it even better. We love to support artists for genuine people. I vividly remember the first time hearing them on stage and thinking wow, this is my new favorite band. That has stayed true for the last 7 years! I haven’t missed a single show in Salt Lake since.
They were playing at the Union Event Center, which is my favorite music venue in Salt Lake City. It’s spacious, it’s two stories, the stage setups are always amazing, and it sounds great. The show was completely sold out! The Union is a big venue so that’s a lot of people! I think around 4, 500! Again, from someone who has been going to their shows at Kilby Court, and then the small room at The Complex, to then The Depot, to selling out the Union Event Center is just been amazing to watch their growth! It’s very much deserved.
As I headed up to the pit I saw so many smiles along the barricade of fans who are so eager for them to go on. The show really was so packed! I bumped into their tour photographer, Brit O’Brien, Who has been with them for years now and is someone I look up to in this industry! It was my third time meeting her and she’s always really nice and encouraging. Even just being in the same photo pit with her was an honor.
The lights turned off and the screaming started. A blue glow illuminated the stage and it was time for Hippo Campus to come out! I was freaking out inside because again they are my favorite band. Hearing them live is unlike anything else. I have a habit of singing along to my favorite songs while I’m shooting in the pit because I just can’t help myself! The boys came out and the screams got even louder and they all took their positions on stage.
The band consists of five members, Jake Luppen as the lead vocalist, Zach Sutton on the base, Nathan Stocker on the guitar, Whistler Allen on drums, and DeCarlo Jackson on the trumpet! As they entered the stage each one of them had a small grin from the fan reaction. I could tell it was going to be a great night. Suddenly the first beat of the song “Bad Dream Baby” started playing and wow did the night start off with a bang!
You could honestly tell that they were having so much fun up on stage. Every few moments they were smiling at each other and smiling at the fans while shaking their heads in disbelief. Salt Lake City was really bringing the energy and it was being reciprocated back. Hippo Campus has a lot of music out and although I wish they could play everything from every album, they did a great job at mixing in stuff from the latest album LP3, which is an absolute masterpiece. They also performed stuff from a mix of their other works! I was losing my mind when I heard them play songs from their first or second album because those are some of my favorites.
Luppen’s Voice is absolutely incredible! The range that he has is insane. He can go super low to super high and when he was getting really into it he would sing at a higher octave or even yell some of the lyrics as he sang them which portrayed a lot of emotion. It really showed that he was super into the moment and super into the music and just letting it all out. The crowd was just eating it up.
I actually ended up losing my voice that night because I was screaming and singing along so loud and dancing so hard in the crowd. I haven’t lost my voice at a concert in years and it’s bittersweet because that meant that I was having the time of my life!
Frontman, Jake Luppen exclaimed how this was the biggest headline show to date and how incredible Salt Lake City was. He even then went on to say “this is the best crowd we ever played to!” They even posted a clip of that on their Instagram stories, so that’s how you know it was legit and not something they say to every city! They are very caring of their fans and want to make sure that everyone is also safe and having a good time at the show.
During the middle of the show, they noticed that the front barricade was getting really tight and people were being pushed up against each other. So they asked everybody to take a step back and give each other room to breathe. They wanted to make sure everyone was good and comfortable before continuing. I really respect that because they’re looking out for the people.
When they played “Suicide Saturday” which is from their first ever EP that came out in 2015, the whole crowd lost it! It is one of the most famous songs in their discography and one that everybody loves. The whole crowd was jumping up and down just having a great time as they shouted the words! That’s the beauty and concerts, the collectiveness of it all, and how it brings people together.
Once they got off the stage I knew it wasn’t over. The energy was just so unmatched. The crowd started chanting for an encore. And soon enough they came back on to finish the night out with the last song they played, “Buttercup”. What a perfect ending to a perfect night. I was covered in sweat from all the dancing I was doing. My voice was gone! But my serotonin levels were through the roof. It was so good to finally see my favorite band again after three years!
I love Hippo Campus with all my heart. I hope to meet them again someday and work with them closely one day!