The last time the Warped Tour came through the area was back in 2001 at the Pontchartrain Center. Flash forward some 15 years and the tour took root at Mardi Gras World. Coincidently, many of the lesser-known bands at that time in 2001 have climbed the ranks and made it back to New Orleans. Sum 41, Yellowcard, Less than Jake, and Pepper were all at the Pontchartrain Center. To say the Warped Tour is a well-oiled machine would be a massive understatement. If you went more than five minutes without hearing a band, you must have fallen into the Mississippi River. The music started at 11:15 a.m. and ended around 9 p.m.; convenient enough so there was no need for extra lighting. The venue was compact and made getting between stages easy. In all, there were seven different stages, five outside and two in the main ballroom.
The running joke of the day came from the Poseidon and Cyclops stages as many of the bands joked that people were only there to get out of the heat. While that may have been so, there was also some great music to be heard on those stages. Waterparks, Against the Current, Masked Intruders (holding true to their name), and The Interrupters each had solid sets. Going in, I only knew of Waterparks, but the other three were a nice surprise. The camp and humor of Masked Intruders was self-evident, while Christina "Chrissy" Costanza of Against the Current and Aimee Allen of The Interrupters held their own in an overwhelmingly male tour.
The Journeys stages were pretty much on tap with the main headliners, while the Monster stages--much like their name-- was a harder sound. Motionless in White played up the Goth-punk side while Oceans ate Alaska roared through with their cookie monster vocals.
One nice thing about this year’s tour, while not in its Old Punk roots, was the emergence of Ska that was evident. Bands like Real Big Fish and Less than Jake took the energy that comes from that genre of music and ran with it. On a bittersweet note, Yellowcard may have played their last time in New Orleans as they announced that after next year’s World Tour, they plan on calling it quits.
It’s pretty mind-blowing to see a festival with so many parts run as smoothly as it did. For the most part the layout was great, apart from one of the monster stages being too close to their merchandise, which made passage a bit hard when bands were playing. Speaking of merchandise, this tour does an amazing job of letting the fans meet the bands they are there to see. Practically each and every band had their own merchandise tent and signings posted. The rest of the vendors included the main sponsors and many a social cause, though they didn’t try to harass you with their messages. It was quite inviting, to say the least.
If the tour has found a new home at Mardi Gras World, which I think it has, they’ll just need to make a few tweaks so that things go even smoother. Of the 15 bands I caught, personal favorites included The Interrupters, The Maine, Mayday Parade, Less than Jake, and Motionless in White. But there was not a bad one in the bunch.