Live Review: Little Comets & Hippo Campus @ The Wardrobe, Leeds

Little Comets tear up Leeds Wardrobe, joined by up-and-coming rockers Hippo Campus, who “sing of how they couldn’t give less of a shit when, in performance, they clearly do.”

SOURCE: Little Comets/Facebook

SOURCE: Little Comets/Facebook

Rating:  ★★★☆☆

Minneapolis quartet Hippo Campus are one of those bands that sing of how they couldn’t give less of a shit when, in performance, they clearly do. With two EP’s under their belt, Bashful Creatures and SOUTH, the foursome deliver a pleasant opening with an assortment of melodies as alternative as their band name. Fan favourites ‘Suicide Saturday’ and ‘Souls’ are ebullienty performed: the percussion is clean-cut, the vocals are rose-tinted, and the guitar rhythm is delightfully harmonised. The indie hi-life purveyors spark an impromptu mosh pit with little difficulty, and frontman Jake Luppen dares to joke of a commonplace assumption in the States that “British people don’t dance.” Little does he know that his audience are Leeds’ finest lefties. Luppen fails to get the chuckle he’s after: the crowd would rather not be pigeonholed.

Enter Little Comets: the trio that contemplate social Darwinism, the crisis in Darfur and mainstream misogyny with readiness. Oddball opener ‘Little Italy’ has the audience chanting of high-order ideas, and the number is executed with diligence and care. The unlikely starter, however, premediates a forthcoming setlist that has all the elements of a top class performance that doesn’t consistently come together.

The mosh pit opens and closes with a religious air of duty whilst the threesome present a reel of their more preppy songs. “A Little Opus” is a beautifully constructed critique of private education and limited opportunities, and this marriage of flair and sombreness is received to acclaim by the Yorkshire congregation. The proceeding up-tempo choruses of ‘My Boy William’ and ‘The Gift of Sound’ provide melodic respite from the largely despairing lyric.

‘Worry’ coupled with ‘The Blur, The Line and the Thickest of Onions’, contrary to what one might hope, seems to give us all the more to worry about. Singing of their own indignation towards our tumultuous world is Little Comets’ trademark, but these heavier topics could have done with being spread out a little more across the hour long set. The bright cascading chords of ‘Joanna’ do well in helping you forget what you’re dancing to, but the upbeat flurry comes a little too late.

There is little fanfare to the close, and we are denied the rapture of an encore; ‘Effetism’ provides the equally oddball concluder. In spite of this, Little Comets ought to be lauded for the fact that they admirably challenge the boundaries of indie music.

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