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Forty5 Presents

Hippo Campus

with Friko
July 18, 2024
5:00 PM
7:00 pm
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Photos from the Show

Hippo Campus with special guest Friko to perform live in concert at Rock the Ruins at Holliday Park in Indianapolis on Thursday, July 18, 2024!

Hippo Campus
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The storytelling on Hippo Campus' new EP, Wasteland, is set against a dystopian, painterly backdrop, fragments of humanity lingering at the edges of the end. On the horizon, a tornado-like entity looms — and instead of turning away, we go forward, plunging into the storm of unknown, and remaining somehow hopeful, in spite of it all.

The five songs collected on Wasteland are totems of friendship, hardship, heartbreak, and, ultimately, perseverance. It's dispatched from an unnamed disaster spread out across the Midwestern plains; the band was heavily inspired by country music, the way that songwriting gets straight to the point, and using that straight-forwardness, imagery, and dark humor as a vehicle for talking about the grief, loss, and love they've collectively experienced in the past year.

Since the very beginning, with their debut album, 2017's Landmark, to 2022's LP3, Minneapolis' Hippo Campus — made up of vocalist/guitarists Jake Luppen and Nathan Stocker, drummer Whistler Allen, bassist Zach Sutton, and trumpeter DeCarlo Jackson — have tried to make sense of the world around them. They've always embraced the ride, the good and bad, trudging through together, and Wasteland is the most honest version of that. Nearly a decade into being a band, Hippo Campus still embraces and is guided by the ethos of shaking it up, sonically or otherwise. Early Hippo Campus records wanted to be cerebral, heady, to use poetic language and obscure their feelings — now, they want to be understood.

Wasteland was recorded with longtime friend and collaborator Caleb Wright (Samia, Miloe, Baby Boys), and is the first batch of new music from Hippo Campus since the release of LP3. The songs were written mainly in Minneapolis, then recorded at Asheville's Drop of Sun studios. It marks a new chapter for the band — embracing simplicity and hands-off, pared-back production. LP3 and Good Dog, Bad Dream skewed more experimental and glitchy, maximalist and unpredictable, but here the band wanted to get back to the core of their songs. With this EP, they capture the energy of the five of them playing live in a room. The demos seamlessly flowed into the final product — Hippo Campus wanted the way they felt while recording to be immediately accessible to anyone who listened, so they embraced simplicity.

The EP is adventurous, and runs the gamut of genre, but the hook-laden songwriting and weirdo pop peeks through. "Moonshine" is a post-apocalyptic indie-country love song, written by Luppen and his partner Raffaella; it's about falling in love with a world on fire, a final Tennessean sunset, deceptively upbeat. "Probably," a spacious and low-key ballad was recorded in just three takes and is acoustic guitar-forward, while "Kick in the Teeth" feels more psychedelia-imbued. "Honeysuckle," also known as honeyberry, is a plant that can endure extreme winter conditions — and is the song that directly addresses the hardship of perseverance most directly, a distillation of the idea that canopies across the whole EP.

The sinewy "Yippie Ki Yay" might be the outlier in its energy, in its anthemic encapsulation of loneliness. It's a sprawling, cinematic track powered by propulsive drumming, high energy and penned as a full-group. Built on a guitar riff that had originally floated around as an idea during their Landmark era but didn't make the album, the final version today is the sort of song the band would've only dreamed of writing at the beginning of their career. Now, all these years later, it's an exciting encapsulation of Hippo at what they do best — of a band operating at the height of their powers.

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Friko, a trio that’s cemented itself as a stalwart in the Chicago music scene, is frontman Niko Kapetan, and drummer Bailey Minzenberger. Their most recent release, “Crimson To Chrome,” is an anthemic offering, Kapetan’s vocals incendiary. It received glowing praise and attention from Pitchfork, Brooklyn Vegan, and Consequence, who wrote “Friko toggle between loud and quiet, thoughtful and self-deprecating, while never expressing anything less than the unbridled joy of noise.” FLOOD wrote the Chicago-based power-pop group is “ certain to stand out among the hundreds of acts gracing the various SXSW stages this year.” And that they did. The band took SXSW 2023 by storm, playing packed showcases over several days that made their Austin-debut a must-see occasion. Bolstered by the unwavering support from Chicago’s music scene, the buzz around new music, and the pure excitement witnessed at SXSW, the interest from labels is voracious and ever-increasing.

Over the band's time together, it has become clear they are comfortable embracing multiple musical extremes at once. Their debut self-released 2022 EP, Whenever, Forever, weaves “together heart-on-sleeve folk, tense, smoldering post punk, and soaring, melodramatic chamber pop rooted in 2000s indie” (Chicago Reader). Lyrically, Kapetan explores the possibility and risks of a life given over to music, interrogating what a life well-lived means to him. The duality rings out in the compositions, evoking rock and folk icons such as Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake. The EP found collective support amongst the local music community, championed by their peers Horsegirl, Lifeguard, Free Range, and more.

Friko’s music is complex and dynamic, flickering between explosive rock, chamber pop, and serene sonics. It becomes even more pronounced in their live performances, where a crowd frenzied by wailing guitars finds itself minutes later collectively holding its breath, enamored by hypnotic strings and Kapetan’s emotive vocals. As the band plays out sweeping melodies, held up by thrashing guitar and punchy beats, it feels as if Kapetan sings to you. Crooning about stories you know, memories you had but have somehow forgotten.


‍All tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable. This event is rain or shine. This event is General Admission and seating is not provided. For a full list of permitted and prohibited items, parking and transportation details, information on ADA seating, and answers to other frequently asked questions, visit the FAQ page.

‍Music is in Forty5’s DNA. The organization exists to bring people together through music. Forty5’s platform includes talent buying, event production, ticketing, box office management, and promotion for events at venues across Indianapolis and the surrounding areas including The Vogue Theatre, Rock the Ruins at Holliday Park, I Made Rock ‘N’ Roll, and The Tobias Theater at Newfields, all powered by the technology platform Opendate. Learn more at

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About Rock the Ruins

Rock the Ruins is a summer concert series hosted by The Vogue at Holliday Park, an enchanting 95-year old park nestled in a gently wooded neighborhood just six miles north of downtown Indianapolis. Perfect for experiencing live music, catching up with neighbors and friends, and connecting with nature, a Rock the Ruins concert is the ideal spot to spend a summer evening. We encourage our all-ages guests to bring chairs/blankets for all Rock the Ruins shows as seating will not be provided for general admission guests. No outside coolers or alcoholic beverages will be permitted in the park as guests will be encouraged to take advantage of a variety of local and artisan vendors selling food and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Guests must present a valid ID (and be 21+) to purchase alcoholic beverages while on-site for any Rock the Ruins event at Holliday Park.

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