Hot off the release of their newest album (just a few weeks prior), Hippo Campus embarked on the nationwide tour in support of LP3, filled to the brim with the endearing, feel-good bangers that fans of the band have come to love (with an almost rocket-like trajectory towards popularity). Hailing from Saint Paul, the hometown heroes returned for a massive show at the Armory this past Saturday, the largest of their tour, and one which they managed to sell out (which to their credit – many acts who come through there are not able to do!). On top of that, the band received their very own star on First Avenue previously that day, joining legends like The Pixies, The Ramones, Foo Fighters and countless others, representing both their loyalty to the First Avenue institution and recognition of the insane feat that is selling out the Armory.

Supporting them on this fun filled romp of a tour were California’s Ginger Root. Ginger Root is primarily singer-songwriter Cameron Lew, who self describes the band’s output as “aggressive elevator soul”. Funky rhythms meet vocals delivered primarily through a distorted corded phone, all the while intermissed by Lew’s endearing self-deprecation and jokes that are almost too perfect to have been ad-libbed. Set highlight was their rendition of the theme to famous mech anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, which will mean nothing to almost everyone but for those who hear it and recognize it, it really is a divine treat to hear it live and have such a great job of it be done. During their second to last song, Lew brought out Hippo Campus guitar tech Kai Brewster to join them for the performance, noting that it was the last show of the tour and they figured – hey, why not? All in all, Ginger Root are a effortlessly charming band, evoking the bedroom stylings of Jay Soom with the same intimate style, one which translates perfectly into a massive stage.

Then came Hippo Campus. You can always tell just how excited a crowd is by the reaction to even the slightest stage movement, and the 6000+ attendees packing the Armory wall to wall were screaming at every single tech who so much as showed their face on stage. When Jake Luppen took the stage a few moments later, the roar of excitement was absolutely deafening. They broke straight away into 2 Young 2 Die, the lead song off their newest record (LP3). and at this point it was almost impossible to hear anything over the crowd. After a few songs, Luppen noted that the performance was “the best day of his life” and he thanked the crowd for playing the largest port of it, mentioning that they had received their First Avenue star, something they could only have dreamed of just a few years prior. Luppen’s beautiful, ephemeral vocals filled the entirety of the massive amphitheater, allowing the lyrics – focused on love, heartbreak and all the minutiae that is life in the midwest – to take on a life of their own as.

Their enormous set never let up off the gas pedal. Altogether, they played what felt like for hours and hours and hours (in a good way), closing out the night with an encore of Bambi and Buttercup (two of their best known songs), finishing the tour with a bang and creating what will easily go down as one of the most memorable concerts of 2022 for probably all in attendance.

Ginger Root

Hippo Campus