Hippo Campus- Wasteland Tour
Written by Hannah Berge on September 26, 2023
By; Kate Karvelis
On May 24th 2023, Hippo Campus played at the Salt Shed, a new venue in Chicago Illinois.
The Salt Shed, turned the old morton salt shed into a concert venue and festival area. The outdoor part of the warehouse is space for an open aired festival and hosts local farmers markets. There is an outdoor stage for concerts as well, facing the Chicago river. Inside, is a second concert location. It has GA pit, as well as second level seating. There truly is no venue like it! It is a lovely venue.
Hippo Campus has been my favorite artist for years, and when I found out they were playing in Chicago, the day before my 21st birthday, I was ecstatic! I bought tickets from the presale , 7 months in advance.
Gus Dapperton was the opener, and I will admit I did miss a few of the first songs, due to traffic getting to the venue. They delivered a great show, and I loved the songs I did see. The lighting scheme was blue and purple hues, which greatly complimented the venue.
Hippo Campus came on shortly after. Hippo Campus is truly my favorite artist, and I have been in their top 1% of listeners since I discovered them in 2016. This tour was highlighting their new EP, Wasteland, which has country roots. This EP is about a cowboy returning to his home after it becomes a wasteland. Hippo Campus has never had a narrative album like this before, so it was a treat. I’ve never been a big country fan, but this album made me listen to country music for my favorite band.
Hippo Campus released my favorite album, Bambi in 2018. They toured with the album, but never play any songs in their more recent tours. Since it was my birthday, and I am such a huge fan, I messaged them through Instagram for MONTHS requesting them to play my favorite track – Golden. When the intro to the song began, I did not believe what I was hearing- I wa actually in shock! They never played it again on the tour, so I believe they really did see my requests. My brother was nice enough to record the whole song for me on my phone so I could enjoy (admittedly, I am crying the whole time). The rest of the concert went by in a blur, because I truly was just so happy to be there. They did play more of my favorites, including Buttercup (which they always use as an encore performance), and the title track from Bambi. I always wear my Doc Martens when I see them, because it is a line in their song Way it Goes (which they do always play).
For a lighting design, they stuck with mostly warm toned hues, which really amplifies the warehouse setting, especially since the venue is painted copper inside.
As much as I love Hippo Campus, they have a mediocre stage presence. It could be based on how far back we were, and my height. My older brother whos 6’2 said it was the best stage presence hes ever seen, so I assumed I was missing some things. They seemed pretty stationary to me, not moving around too much.
The background for the stage was a striped tarp that was clear, and then colored. This helped with light refraction and just added an overall vibe!