Review: The Warning – The Garage, Glasgow

What began nine years ago with a homemade YouTube video of three young sisters from Monterrey, Mexico covering Metallica’s ‘Enter Sandman’, has now grown wings at such a rate that the three sisters Dany (guitar/vocals), Pau (drums/vocals), and Ale (bass/vocals) Villarreal Vélez are now one of the hottest properties in modern rock music – The Warning.

It’s not so much the views of the said cover version that stick out (25,000,000 and counting) but rather how comfortable and steady the youngsters looked at ages 14, 12, and 9 respectively. Drummer Pau came in for some special praise from ‘Tallica’s Kirk Hammett when the guitarist tweeted “The drummer kicks maximum ass!” (Kirk needs to see her live because she does indeed kick maximum ass, and then some).

Signing to Jason Flom’s Lava Records in 2020 brought the might of the Universal Music Group, along with supporting slots with such heavyweights as GNR, Foo Fighters, and more noticeably: a lengthy stadium run with fellow trio Muse. The die was cast. The future is bright, the future is green, white, and red. The future is The Warning. And with those stubborn last few remaining tickets unsold for this 19-date tour of Europe and the UK selling out once the trio landed in Europe, the yellow day-glow tour poster looks fantastic bathed in pink “sold out” banners.

Keeping it an all-female lineup on the tour are opening act American metalcore outfit Conquer Divide who didn’t have the best of preparations for their debut trip across the Atlantic when bassist/harsh vocalist Janel Duarte departed the band a short time before the tour started. Stepping into Duarte’s shoes and providing the harsh vocals for the tour is Madison Moon, and given her blonde pigtails and the choice of intro music as the Spice Girls ‘Wannabe’; might she now be known as ‘BABYMETAL SPICE’? Anyway, Moon has slotted in almost seamlessly and unless you were aware of the change in line-up, you would not have guessed that she hasn’t been there since day one.

So once the “zigazig ah” fades out the 5-piece cram into the space dangerously close to the lip of the stage and tears into the set opener ‘Atonement’. It takes a few moments for the sound to settle and for Kia Taylor’s clean vocals to break through, but once they do, they land with great clarity. There are signs of a great understanding between both vocalists and when one takes lead vocals, the other takes a few steps back to allow them their chance in the spotlight.

With plays on the likes of Kerrang! Radio, Kerrang! TV, Primordial Radio, and BBC Radio 1’s The Rock Show with Daniel P. Carter, and Introducing with Alyx Holcombe, Conquer Divide are known to parts of the crowd and it seems to come as a surprise to the band that not only do people know the lyrics but are prepared to sing them back; but when you have songs as hard-hitting and melodic as ‘Chemicals’ and ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ (the latter expertly controlled by powerhouse drummer Samantha Landa) then it’s easy for the crowd to latch onto. The excellent latest album ‘Slow Burn’ delivers most of the set and the closing pair of ‘NEWHEAVEN’ and ‘welcome2paradise’ highlight the variety found within Conquer Divide’s output. They are back later this year alongside Ash Costello and New Years Day – such a great fit – do check them out.

With merchandise and physical copies of previous albums by The Warning going for insane amounts of money online (the vinyl version of album number 3 ‘Error’ is listed on Discogs as £250), the faithful EU & UK community that The Warning has cultivated and grown over the last few years have had to resort to playing customs-roulette by ordering directly from the bands’ US website. So it is both understandable and heartwarming to witness the HUGE queue for the merchandise stand that builds up as soon as doors open. Nobody buys CDs anymore? Bullshit. Put the product in front of punters eager to part with their cash, and they will. Great news finally that the forthcoming new album ‘Keep Me Fed’ will get a full release over here and deliver one in the eye to upsellers online (pre-order HERE). Happy to report that the queue is just as huge on the way out after the gig.

The venue is rammed from the off, and nobody is risking having to stand at the back by getting in late or loitering at the bar. These headline dates have been a long time coming, and there is a fantastic mix of demographics in attendance: grizzled gig veterans seeing what all the fuss is about, fans who caught The Warning when they appeared in the city with Muse, and younger fans (a lot of female fans) who can identify with the sisters and look on them as role models – a demographic crucial to the survival of rock music.

With the impeccable Pau Villarreal counting her sisters in, the trio explodes into the first of several new tracks aired tonight; ‘S!CK’ and although it is new, the crowd knows what is expected of them and when Dany gives them the eye as if to say “Ready?” as she drops the song title during each chorus, they roar it back with gusto. ‘Z’ is up next and highlights how in tandem with each other Pau and Ale are, the kind of understanding that only comes with hard work and loads of hours in the practice room. The pulsating, throbbing basslines from Ale light the blue touch paper and it’s hypnotic when Pau comes in with her almost tribal-like drumming – her tom-tom work is incredible. When Dany winds up to launch into her guitar solo, the pair take over on vocals and Dany has the freedom to express herself knowing that her sisters have her back covered. The mile-wide smile from Pau as she sings is strong enough to power the city for the entire next day. Ale has a commanding stage presence, cool but not too cool, and serious but not too serious, a bassist not built to hang back, and when she drops lowdown it sparks comparisons with Metallica’s (that band again) Robert Trujillo. Heaps of fiery guitar licks and riffs from Dany as she peels off one of many incendiary solos on the night and it’s easy to see why Lzzy Hale regards her so highly as a guitarist, especially when she casually drops in some Jerry Cantrell-sized riffs during ‘CHOKE’.

There is a great connection between the band and the crowd, and The Warning have to an extent tapped into what is mostly an unmined market. Similar in a sense to Måneskin, not musically because The Warning often leans more towards an act like Muse, but in the sense that both bands have the abilities and melodies to break down barriers and genres and go truly global; something highlighted on another new track, the current single ‘Qué Más Quieres’ (translates to “What else do you want”) a fast-paced rocker in the band’s native Spanish tongue that thrills at every turn. Any potential language barrier is nonexistent as the crowd laps it up, bouncing along while singing the melodies – allowing Mexico to compete in Eurovision would have The Warning following Måneskin as competition winners that you are not embarrassed to enjoy.

The 70-minute 16-song set flies past in a blur and with a handful of albums to call upon there is something for everyone; ‘Dust to Dust’ not only features a gorgeous Tom Hamilton-like bass intro from Ale, but it features Pau on lead vocals and the control in her vocals as she drums at the same time is incredible; ‘Dull Knives (Cut Better)’ still packs an almighty punch and remains one of The Warning’s more trad-metal tracks; ‘MONEY’ is like Halestorm-meets-The White Stripes-meets-Nirvana and it’s fascinating watching how supremely confident Dany is as she controls the crowd by holding up a single finger and pausing the music as the throng in front of her are hypnotised; and if ‘ERROR’ and ‘DISCIPLE’ highlighted the growth in the band a few years ago when they released the ‘ERROR’ album, then new track ‘Hell You Call a Dream’ takes that growth and amplifies it one thousand fold and perhaps The Warning might just deliver the album of the year come June 2024 with the release of ‘Keep Me Fed’.

One thing is for certain, from a UK point of view, whoever follows The Warning this Summer at both The Maid of Stone Festival and Steelhouse Festival better bring their A-game because they have their work cut out already. If you get the chance to catch The Warning in these smaller-sized venues then grab that chance with both hands because the venues are only going to get bigger from here on in.

Check out all current and forthcoming live dates HERE

All images – Dave Jamieson

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  1. One of the best, well-written, in-depth reviews I’ve ever read! OUTSTANDING!

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