Hippo hosts local, delta artists


The Thirsty Hippo in downtown Hattiesburg hosted 3 artists on Dec. 2, including Standard Issues, Alex Fraser and the Vagrant Family Band and The Ellie Badge. The show began at 10 p.m., and the mood was set with relaxed music and candle lighting.

The first act was by Standard Issues, who describe themselves as “experimental indie-pop.” They were followed by Alex Fraser and the Vagrant Family Band, an alt-country group consisting of 4 members.

This show was part of a 4-stop tour making its way through Jackson, Cleveland, Starkville and Hattiesburg. Members of each community helped to provide venues, especially in Cleveland. These particular artists were put together by Caleb Lowe, the owner of Big Sleepy’s in Jackson.

“We’re a folk-rock band from Jackson,” said artist Alex Fraser. “I started performing with drummer Wes Shepherd, bassist Zachary Oren Smith and lead guitarist Micah Smith in summer 2016 after releasing my first recording project, ‘After the Fact,’ a split EP with fellow Jackson artist Victoria Fortenberry, who performs as Standard Issues. The Hattiesburg show was actually the second stop of our first tour, the Can’t Tour Won’t Tour, which Standard Issues and The Ellie Badge from Memphis are playing with us. We started in Jackson, went to Thirsty Hippo, then played at Dave’s Dark Horse Tavern in Starkville and we’re ending tonight at 606, a house show venue in Cleveland, Mississippi.”

Fraser said The Thirsty Hippo’s audience was receptive to his group’s music.

“We’re definitely planning to make it back soon and hopefully connect with some more bands in Hattiesburg,” Fraser said.

Randy Riley, a junior at Southern Miss, played a large part in connecting the artists with the venue.

“We thought this would be a great way to give road experience to these bands,” Riley said. “It was definitely a small success, and we plan to have events once a month from now on, all local music. We really rely on the community to make these kind of shows happen.”

Local artist Him Horrison gave some insight into the future of the Hattiesburg music scene after his show.

“I moved to Hattiesburg a while ago,” Horrison said. “There are a lot of people who want to see good things happen, and I think it’s important to pay reverence to that. It’s so supportive here and also vulnerable because if something is happening, people want to pay attention and see if it’s good.”

All of the artists encouraged attendees to follow along with their music and updates on social media and also Spotify, Apple Music and iTunes and SoundCloud.