U Street Music Hall was packed on a recent Wednesday night, filled with diehard fans of one of Spain’s best kept secrets: indie bock band Vetusta Morla.
After several highly praised performances at South By Southwest this spring, Vetusta Morla graced the District with a visceral, high-energy performance hosted by the Spanish Embassy. Spaniards and Anglophones alike came out in droves to hear hits from the band’s two chart-topping albums: 2008’s "Un Dia en el Mundo" and last year’s "Mapas."
"Music is a language in itself," said guitarist Juanma Latorre. "I hope we can get into the English-speaking American audience too. We sing in Spanish, but I think that through music we can get to their hearts."
The six-member band has been playing together for 13 years. After recording their first demos, they had trouble finding a record label. Frustrated after months of being unsigned, they decided to take the production of their music into their own hands, and started their own label. With help from the Internet, they’ve been able to spread their fan base to a global scale.
"We grew up with the Internet," said Pucho, the band's lead singer. "Our whole career -- our steps have been parallel with the Internet. We get the advantage of all the new media."
Many concertgoers found out about the show through Facebook and other online outlets.
“You have people that spread the word for you," said bassist Alvaro Baglietto. "Everybody is sharing everything -- there are no countries on the Internet."
American fans of the band are familiar with their music, but no one was quite ready for their exhilarating interactive live show. Fans danced the night away and belted along with charming lead Pucho as he beat his rusty oil drum and rocked out only as European rock stars can.
"We hope this is the start of something for us in America," Latorre said.
We hope so too.