A crowd of over 60 confirmed patrons gathered at The Thirsty Hippo Friday night to support
local and out-of-state performing acts. Crunk Witch, a bass-heavy electronic band from Presque Isle, Maine, headlined the show with native Hattiesburg artists Him Horrison and Dream/Window
delivering opening performances beginning at 10:30 p.m. Jackson- based post-rock group The Empty Handed Painters played a final set that lasted from 12 to 1 a.m.
Crunk Witch garnered a particular amount of fanfare. During their set, they performed an electronic cover of Wheezer’s “Say it Ain’t So” alongside several of their original songs. The Maine duo used a light show and a fog machine during their performance.
Brandon Miles, Crunk Witch’s lead singer, shared his thoughts on touring and being in a band with his wife, Hannah Colleen, who constitutes the group’s other half. He said that the experience is an extremely positive one, and that he would rather tour with no one else.
Miles also discussed his feelings about the relatively small turnout at the event.
“Through years and years of touring, some areas we can go play now, six years later, and have 40 or 50 people there who just want to see us,” Miles said. “And then areas like tonight, we’ll only have four or five people who’ve come to see us. We go into every show with the idea that if one person paid to get in, they are going to get the same show as when a hundred or a thousand people pay to get in.”
Dream/Window guitarist Hal Kolodney weighed in on The Thirsty Hippo as a venue, its typical performing acts and its demographic, noting that it is accessible for any students interested in local music.
“A good bit of lesser-known and alternative country acts come around,” Kolodney said. “A lot of fusion groups as well, because of the jazz studies program (at USM). Other than that, just good old indie rock bands.”
Dream/Window took the stage at approximately 11 p.m. and played a set of melodic post-punk originals. The crowd reacted positively, and the band’s performance set the pace and energy for the rest of the event.
Local artist and senior English major Dylan Kern, presenting as Him Horrison, opened for Dream/ Window. His set consisted of only himself and his guitar and was reminiscent of ‘80s and ‘90s psychedelic rock and folk. He cited artists such as The Stooges, Hawkwind and The Brian Jonestown Massacre as some of his strongest influences.
“To put it plainly, it’s a lot of retro stuff going on,” Kern said of his music. “But I guess the whole point is to look past that. It’s basically paying homage to past artists, but expanding on that. It’s about being genuine—not doing stuff necessarily because people want to hear it, but because it’s what you want to do. It’s what makes sense.”
The Thirsty Hippo hosts local shows on a frequent basis. To find out more about upcoming events, visit the venue’s website or Facebook page. Admission usually ranges from $5 to $10, and attendees over the age of 21 may visit the bar.