New Orleans, Louisanna (May 11, 2019) – Tonight, Toronto punk band PUP returned to New Orleans, LA for the first time in five years, in celebration of their newly released album Morbid Stuff. Old and new fans, many of whom traveled from far outside the city, braved severe storms and flooded streets for their chance to party with the band at One Eyed Jacks, in New Orleans’ French Quarter.
Fellow Toronto natives Casper Skulls opened the show. Formed in 2015, Casper Skulls features Melanie St-Pierre on guitar and vocals, Fraser McClean on bass, Neil Bednis on vocals and guitar, and Aurora Bangarthon on drums. Casper Skulls quickly won over the audience with their sound, which is hard-hitting and energetic, and yet somehow still relaxing and melodic. After their set, St-Pierre joked that she doesn’t know what’s going to happen next but “It’s probably going to be a party up in here”.
Indie rockers Ratboys, from Chicago, IL, kept the party vibe going. Ratboys formed in 2009 with Julia Steiner on guitar and vocals, and David Sagan on guitar. Sean Neumann and Marcus Nuccio are joining them for this tour, on bass and drums, respectively. Ratboys’ lyrics tackle a variety of subjects, some relatable (such as GL, which is about a toxic friend), and some not-so-relatable (such as Elvis Is in the Freezer, which is about storing a deceased pet in the freezer). Steiner told the audience that playing their set was the highlight of their day, especially after spending 7 hours on the highway in the pouring rain.
Moments later, the crowd erupted with energy for PUP’s triumphant return to New Orleans. Five years ago, New Orleans saw PUP playing in a small club to less than a dozen people. Tonight’s show couldn’t have been more different. Hundreds of fans danced, moshed, and screamed along in a sold-out venue. Crowd surfers flew over my head and landed on the stage, as guitarist Steve Sladkowski casually remarked “Someone lost a shoe. That’s cool. That’s normal.”
PUP, which also includes Stefan Babcock on vocals and guitar, Nestor Chumak on bass and Zack Mykulaon on drums, opened their set with Free at Last, a fast and powerful song from their latest release Morbid Stuff. Although it was close to midnight when their set began, the audience and the band showed no signs of tiring and they played through 14 songs spanning their 9-year career. After resolving some technical difficulties at the beginning of the set, PUP only paused briefly between songs. First, they stopped to reassure the audience that they want everyone to feel safe at their shows, and that security is there to address any issues. Later, they took a short break to talk about giving back to their community, and to the communities that they visit. At each stop on this tour, PUP is taking donations at the merch table for a local charity of their choice. In New Orleans, they chose charities that benefit LGBT youth, music education and at-risk youth.
PUP is a band that not only brings a high-energy live performance, but also cares deeply about their fans and communities. PUP‘s tour wraps up in their hometown of Toronto on July 21st.