#MusicMonday: The Warning

#MusicMonday is where I share the music that I’m currently listening to, inspired by the #MusicMonday tag from back when Twitter was a thing.

This time, I want to share a band that has one of the best live concert recordings I’ve ever heard. You’ve been warned …

You’ve Been Warned

A few weeks ago, the YouTube algorithm recommended The Warning – Full Concert Live at “Teatro Metrop√≥litan” (CDMX). I’ve hardly listened to anything else since.

A Potted History

The Warning are Danny (guitars, vocals), Ale (bass, vocals) and Pau (drums, vocals). They’re a three-piece a rock power trio from Mexico. They mostly write and perform in English, and man, the number of people who don’t even realise that they’re not American is testament to just how fluent and nuanced their lyrics are.

They originally came to prominence 9 years ago, when they posted their cover of Metallica’s Enter Sandman. On the back of that, they’ve built up a rich discography of original rock music, including their own concept album Queen of the Murder Scene (live performance of that here).

Then, in December 2021, The Warning’s newest interpretation of Enter Sandman was the opening track on the Metallica Blacklist album, a huge celebration of the 30th anniversary of Metallica’s black album.

From what I’ve heard, they’re one of those bands who are better live than in the studio.

The Concert

The Warning – Full Concert Live at “Teatro Metrop√≥litan” (CDMX) is a live recording of a show they did in Mexico in August 2022.

First time through, I’ll be honest, I thought it was merely okay for the first half hour. Then, right after the performance of Enter Sandman, it really kicked up a notch. That next 30 mins or so is one hell of a purple patch, and really shows off what makes this band special and unique.

On subsequent rewatches – so many rewatches! – I appreciated the whole show a lot more. The whole thing from start to end really is a milestone career performance. And to think we’ve hopefully got decades more to come from this band too!

The team that captured this performance deserves a huge amount of credit. I’m not kidding, I really do think that this is one of the best live rock concert recordings that I’ve ever heard.

I just wish it was available to buy on something like iTunes.

If You Prefer A Bite-Size Introduction …

… then watch The Warning perform Evolve at the 2023 MTV VMA Awards.

From various comments online, the legend is that all acts at the VMA Awards were allowed to do three takes of each song, so that they could be stitched together to make one great performance video. The Warning reportedly did it in a single take, with a performance that blew the roof off.

Go and watch it for yourself, and you’ll see what I mean.

If You Want A More In-Depth Analysis …

… then watch reaction videos over on YouTube. A surprising number of these are done by people who do (or have) worked in the music industry, and they’re able to point out things that a lot of us would otherwise miss.

My favourite The Warning reactor is BEL Development. He’s got a background in music and performance, and I think he does a great job of breaking down what makes the songs and the performances so bloody good.

Some Gear Notes

Danny is a PRS artist, and Ale is a Spector artist. Pau is an endorsed drummer too, but my apologies, I’m not a drummer so I couldn’t tell you what her endorsements are.

I love Danny’s live guitar tone … which she gets from her Kemper Stage unit! Just goes to show that when someone knows what they’re doing, the Kemper can do the job. That’s why there’s a Kemper in so many recording studios all around the world.

As for Ale’s bass tone, that’s something really special. It doesn’t just fill out the low-end, it also has this fantastic mid-range that allows it to do more than simply drive the groove.

I need to buy a bass guitar for my own music. Ale’s performance (along with a lot of discussion by commentators and reactors) has convinced me that I should look at a Spector bass first. (Oh, fun fact I didn’t know: Jason Newstead used a Spector bass on Metallica’s Enter Sandman.)

And Pau … I’ve seen so many comments along the lines of “she beats those drums like they owe her money”. What a player and what a performer. Watch the full concert, and you’ll see what I mean.

Pau also controls the band’s click tracks & backing tracks, which run in Ableton Live. Because they’re a three-piece, The Warning use backing tracks to fill out the sound, adding incidental keyboards and (very occasionally) additional backing vocals. I think it’s a very intelligent move, adding that little extra polish to an already outstanding performance.

Final Thoughts

It’s been a long time since a new (to me) artist or band made this kind of impression on me. The only other one I can think of in the last four years has been Ren. (I’ll feature him soon!)

The Warning have a new album coming out at the end of June. I’ve pre-ordered it, as a way of supporting the band. Some of the songs have been released to YouTube already. Hell You Call A Dream and Automatic Sun in particular are just fantastic stadium rock.

I’m looking forward to hearing the whole album.

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