Hippo Campus — those delightful, buzzy young local music stars — recently stopped by the A.V. Club's Chicago office to take part in the Undercover series. Participating bands must attempt to cover a song from a list compiled by AVC; once a song has been chosen, it's removed from the list, rendered unavailable for future participants.
Arriving at about the midway point of the current Undercover season, the Hippos ended up picking Electric Light Orchestra's '70s rock classic "Don't Bring Me Down." Among the tunes the pop-rock outfit opted not to tackle: Beastie Boys' “Sabotage," Phil Collins' “In the Air Tonight," Slayer's “Raining Blood," and any Gwar song. Check out HC's interpretation of ELO here:Do you think the Hippos killed it? Does E.L.nO. have competition as the region's preeminent ELO cover band? Don't those Hippos sure look like nice boys?
As far as we're concerned, the fresh-faced Twin Citians nailed the 1979 ELO track, injecting it with plenty of earnest vigor while demonstrating killer technical chops. The AVC commenters, always a tough crowd to win over, overwhelmingly approved, with comments ranging from "I liked this! They also look like adorable 16 year olds" to "I was ready to hate this just by virtue of the fact that these little bastards make me feel old as fuck, but damn they brought it."
Hippo Campus are scheduled to play Chipotle's free Cultivate Festival, where accessible live music meets humongous burritos, this Saturday in Loring Park.
In the past, acts with Minnesota ties such as Trampled by Turtles, the Hold Steady, Howler, and Bob Mould have all visited the AVC HQ to go Undercover.