Santa Barbara Bowl: Hippo Campus & The Head and The Heart

What? You have not been to Santa Barbara Bowl? With a view from the top reminiscent of being at the Acropolis in Greece and more charm than LA’s Greek Theatre, what a great place for a night under the stars.
The summer line-up is impressive (hot tips listed below), and our maiden voyage at the venue was a great double bill.
Hippo Campus brought their unique St. Paul sound to an enthusiastic crowd. My brother (who was into these guys before anyone) had been singing their praises for too long.
He was right.
Cameron Crowe pegged them early as well, he had them on his Showtime series ‘Roadies’ a couple years ago.The band blends some of the tasteful urgency of War on Drugs with a breezier sonic mix. Lead singer Nathan Stocker’s guitar work is underpinned by the solid rhythm section of Zach Sutton (bass) and Whistler Isaiah Allen (drums). Veterans of several notable festivals, the band leveraged the golden hour in Santa Barbara with a warm and embracing set. Standout songs from their live set in Santa Barbara were the opener “Warm Glow,” “Bambi” (the name of the tour) and set closer “Buttercup.”

The Head and The Heart have hit their stride on this tour. They exude a confidence and depth of songwriting that indicates they will be around for a long while. Touring on the heels of their excellent album Living Mirage, the set list at the Santa Barbara Bowl featured many tacks from that release. The band’s fourth album leverages the Seattle sextet’s eclectic indie / folk / Americana sound. Several great songs included “Lost in My Mind,” “Sounds Like Halleluja” which meshed nicely with “Down in the Valley.” Inevitably, they closed the evening with the swooning “Rivers and Roads.”

The summer lineup at the Santa Barbara Bowl is far from over, here are some shows not to be missed:


Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.