Colorado is known for it’s famous music venues that scatter the mountainous terrain in cities like Boulder and Denver. Perhaps you know a thing or two about the famous “Red Rocks” in Morrison where hundreds of legendary acts have played. You probably don’t know the Gothic theatre in Littleton, Colorado, though.
To be entirely honest, it’s kind of an underwhelming little theatre with paint peeling from to poorly painted walls and uneven ceilings. The stacked, black speakers hang from two metal posts, jettisoning from the popcorn ceiling. The area around the poles on the ceiling were caved in and had hairline fractures creeping out around the hole. Reassuring… especially when the bass hits a peak and you’re standing under them. I was led by Charlie Glick, the guitarist and singer for Sure, Sure who was opening for Hippo Campus, into the green room of the venue which was tucked away underneath the stage. The room was even more poorly painted than the rest of the venue, violent auburn hazes melting away into a couple of unevenly colored shades on the walls.
It had to have only been about two degrees down there.
My entire interview was conducted through a repetitive shake of my knee and hands that seemed to be possessed by a bunch of bees under my skin, but regardless the boys of the band treated me with a skeptical attitude, coated in kindness. I could tell that they were kind of looking at me with this sense of “who is this random teenager and why is she asking me these random questions”, which cast a bit of an awkward hew over our whole conversation. Kevin Farzad, the percussionist, a dark haired, dark eyed, dark persona kind of guy sat on the edge of a rolling suitcase for the extent of the interview and answered almost all of my questions with a smirk and a genuine answer. The aforementioned guitarist and singer, Charlie Glick sat on the opposite side of the small room with a dewey smile and tapped his fingers before he ever said anything. These two seemed to be the leaders of the band and were comfortable disclosing what Sure, Sure was about. When asked about why they chose Sure, Sure as the name for their band, producer Michael Coleman replied with “It’s something that rolls of the tongue. People say it all the time.” This is what is particularly unique about Sure, Sure as a sound. Often bands strive to have such an over the top, crazy new sound that no one has ever heard before. However in doing so, they sometimes join all the other groups who are trying to do the exact same thing. Sure, Sure taps into the comfort of sounds we know and love, while sprinkling in interesting lyrics and fleshing out the stories that they create. Their goal is to create music that make people dance and laugh for three and a half minutes.
Half way through the interview, Zach Sutton, the bassist for Hippo Campus, barged in through the connected door and then promptly noticed me and quickly exited. Before doing so, he smiled at me and sincerely apologized for the interruption. This is not a necessary part of this story, however I think it is important to highlight band members when they are kind and respectful human beings.
Shortly after, we were shooed out of the green room and sent out into the freezing weather to wait another hour. Before leaving though, we got to walk through the acoustic set Hippo Campus was putting on for the specially paid audience. The concert hall empty, Jake Luppen’s voice radiated off of the walls and I could practically touch the sound waves as they sailed through the air. On the way out, I was really angling for an interview with Hippo Campus and even tracked down a lady whom I was told was the manager for the band. I spilled out this whole speech about me and how I’d been speaking with one of the publicists for the band, speaking very softly so as not to disrupt the acoustic session but just loud enough for her to hear my desperate pleas. At a certain point, I didn’t care about the interview. I just didn’t want to go out into the twenty degree Colorado air. This lady looks at me and with a ditzy, California valley girl voice said, “Ummmm. I’m with Planned Parenthood.” She dragged out her syllables to almost a point of no recognition and then slightly pushed me aside to go to the bathroom. I was mortified and my best friend and I set out into the unforgivable outside conditions, laughing and quoting her voice the entire night. I am very proud to have attended a concert with artists who support organizations like Planned Parenthood, let that be known, but this woman was a character.
After about an hour of watching a marathon of PDA from a couple in front of us and hearing the two girls behind us swigging vodka out of a Nesquik chocolate milk bottle, we finally ended up back in the venue. Only this time, there were a couple hundred other people with us. For the rest of the night, we made friends with a whole clique of girls from a local high school and joined forces to fight against the girls with flower crowns trying to get to the front of the stage by shoving people.
The set was electric. Everything about the simple lighting to the variety of songs Hippo Campus played seemed to light a fire inside of me. During “Monsoon” I even whipped out my phone and wrote a line to a poem I am working on now. They played a few new songs mixed with classic favorites like “Buttercup” and “Way It Goes”. Everything about the band seemed mundanely phenomenal. As if a few basic looking kids from Minnesota could spark such a welcoming and fun environment I’ll never forget.
If you are ever considering seeing Hippo Campus live, this is your sign to do it. This is your sign to go and buy tickets to see the show nearest to you in the next few weeks. Or this is the sign to go play their album, “Landmark” and their “Warm Glow” EP right now. Sure, Sure and Hippo Campus have a vibe that I’ve had the pleasure of truly knowing for one night and trying to replicate the feeling ever since by playing their music on repeat. Go listen, GLUE readers. You’ll thank me later.
Twitter, IG: @alexanbhall