by Maddy Siiter
Hippo Campus was welcomed back to Duluth by a sold-out, all-ages show at Clyde Iron Works last Friday. Duluth is infamous for their lack of all-age shows, so not only was the fact I could finally go to something exciting, it was a band I would really be mad about missing.
It was clear that a lot of other people felt the same way too. When my friends and I got there (after having to turn around once because of a forgotten ticket), a long line was already formed, stretching from the back of the building where the doors of the show space was to the inside lobby of the main entrance, full of kids with X’s on their hands, jean jackets, and flannel shirts.
Once the doors opened, the room filled in quickly, like expected. I was able to close enough to see through a few shoulders, but given that I’m under 5 feet tall, I made my friends take any pictures I wanted to post.
Minneapolis band Cherry Cola, fronted by Max Timander, opened the show. I had been wanting to catch of show of theirs ever since they formed over the summer, so I was really excited when I found out they were supporting that night. Their grungy, punk rock guitar riffs and high energy filled the entire room and the four-piece, who all go by different monikers of something-Cola looked to be having the best time up on stage getting the crowd more excited for what was coming up.
Smash Mouth’s “All Star” and Rupert Holmes’ “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” played in between sets, an intentional loop chosen by the band. Even by the 3rd time through of each song, the crowd was still singing the lyrics of the choruses in unison right until the four-piece took the stage.
The set started off with a brand new song, which I thought was somewhat of an unusual move and caused a few moments of confusion for the fans waiting to sing along to something familiar. It made more sense when frontman Jake Luppen, who was sporting a very 90s pink and red windbreaker, paused 2 songs in to greet the crowd with, “This is the first show we’ve played in a minute. Wanna know why? Because we’ve been writing 20 new songs for you.” I don’t doubt new music from Hippo Campus coming out in the near future.
The rest of the set featured songs mostly from their two previous releases, Bashful Creatures and Souls, with the exception of a few newer and unreleased ones that I had yet to hear before.
Though the crowd was split between teenagers and college age kids on the floor and adults on the balcony, the room echoed lyrics from favorites like “Suicide Saturday” and “Souls” from both demographics in attendance.
The group was as sonically cohesive as ever, playing tightly together all while still flowing along in their whimsical, indie melodies. They danced around the stage and continued to be in high energy even when a snare drum broke halfway through the set and had to be replaced with the one off of Cherry Cola’s.
The hour set ended with “Halocline” and gave me chills throughout the entire three minutes. There’s something absolutely magical about hearing the hookline of “This is my home, this is my only way” when you’re standing in your hometown, listening to a group of musicians play with so much passion when you’re surrounded by 1,200 people–whether they made the trek from Minneapolis or lived right in Duluth, who feel the same way.