San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Magic City Hippies curates a musical evening of love in San Diego

The band played their show at The Observatory North Park amidst the tail-end of their 2023- 2024 winter tour
Roman Aguilar
Magic City Hippies played at the Observatory North Park on Feb. 24

The Magic City Hippies performed at The Observatory North Park in San Diego on  Feb. 24 with a night full of champagne from the feature band, chest hair and groovy tunes to keep an audience eager for more.  

“Every time I hear their music, it just sounds like that nice part of summer, where everything is chill and always brings back that nostalgia,”

The Palms were one of the openers for Magic City Hippies on Feb. 24 (Roman Aguilar)

Mel Gonzalez, an attendee, said. “I just listen to music all day when I work, so when I saw them pop up on my feed, I thought, ‘Oh let’s go!’” 

What Gonzalez said perfectly captures the music and essence of the Magic City Hippies. The band features a mix of pop, funk and indie-rock that had the crowd dancing by the first note played on stage. 

The Miami band had an energy that was infectious to the large crowd, mostly comprised of couples and older adults. Their chemistry on stage was evident enough to show they are a band who’s worked together well over 10 years, with three studio albums under their belt. 

I was first exposed to the group’s music through their most recent album, “Water Your Garden,” released in early 2022. The 35-minute collection of 11 songs featured collaborators maye and Tim Atlas, which got me into hearing the funky bass grooves throughout the album and interested me in how they would sound live. 

Guitarist and lead singer, Robby Hunter, came out on the stage alongside the rest of the band in a leopard pattern shirt, complete with his raging chest hair showing. Neon-illuminated symbols of the band’s name lit up behind the group as they kicked off the night’s set with their song “Indiana” from their 2019 album, “Modern Animal.”

A couple of songs into the set, Hunter ran off the stage while the rest of the band played together. 

Once he returned, he donned a curly-haired wig with oversized, sparkling blue shades while performing a song in character. Although stunned, the audience remained enthralled by Hunter’s soulful vocals, complimented by the band’s instrumental upbeat playing. 

The band’s use of a trumpet player and multiple layered keyboards created a sound that amplified the crowd’s excitement. 

The group played a mixed collection of their discography, including fan favorites and newer material, seamlessly blending from one song to the next. An acoustic version of the aforementioned title track “Water Your Garden,” “SPF” and “Limestone” were a few of the outstanding performances of the night, displaying the band’s versatility while keeping the audience captivated. 

Openers Josh Fudge and The Palms helped set the stage for the night, with a sunshine indie pop sound, fueled by a constant high-energy crowd. 

Josh Fudge was one of the openers for the Magic City Hippies on Feb. 24 (Roman Aguilar)

Fudge, an artist from Oklahoma City, began the show and was accompanied by his drummer and a keyboard to his side. His happy-go-lucky attitude became a welcoming opening to the night of music. 

Although his biggest track, “FEEL LIKE” has over seven million streams on Spotify, I felt I was one of the only ones familiar with him and his music. Still, in his short 30 to 40-minute set, he warmed the audience with silk synths and bouncy rhythms. 

The second opener, The Palms, was a band I wasn’t familiar with before the night began, but I became entranced by the band’s instrumentation and nostalgic vocals. 

The band features vocalist Ben Rothbard and guitarist Johnny Zambetti. Much of their set contained catchy pop tracks while harboring reggae and rock influences. Their music perfectly fits the “soak up the sun with a possible drink in hand” environment felt throughout Observatory North Park. 

Overall, the lineup of Josh Fudge, The Palms and Magic City Hippies made for an exciting night of music that made me feel like I was to step out of the doors into the sweaty summer of San Diego once I left the show. 

The unique blend of genres from Magic City Hippies, followed by the infectious energy, created a concert experience that had the entire crowd on their feet singing along.

About the Contributor
Roman Aguilar
Roman Aguilar, '24-25 Sports Editor, '23 -24 Sports Editor
Roman Aguilar (he/him/his) is a second-year journalism major with an emphasis in public relations from Stockton, California. Since he was little, he loved watching sports and being able to tell a good story out of an exciting game matchup. He joined the Daily Aztec in 2022 as a contributor and staff writer for the sports section, covering a multitude of sports including football, men's basketball, and water polo, before moving on to sports editor. Aguilar is also a blog writer for KCR College Radio, attending concerts and having the opportunity to cover shows and interview artists. When he isn't writing articles related to music or sports, you can see Roman going to local concert shows on a near-weekly basis and watching his favorite horror movies.