It took five hours on a coach from Manchester to get all the way to Camden. It was my first time there and also my first time seeing Él Mató a un Policía Motorizado live. The Argentinian band (whose peculiar name originated from dialogue in a low-budget sci-fi film which translates to “He killed a motorised policeman”) are a huge deal in the Spanish-speaking world. So, seeing them for the first time in a small venue in London felt like keeping a big secret.
I was there to photograph both the sound check and the show, so I made my way into the venue a couple of hours before the doors opened. I wanted to portray a deeper insight into the moments that precede a music performance and observe the transition from people to icons. My intention was to capture a broader spectrum of the personality of the band, documenting another dimension in addition to their customary energetic stage performances.
There was a lot of movement on and off stage during the sound check. Adjustments were made to the drum kit, bass, guitars, and vocals. It felt like a privilege to listen to Santiago Motorizado, lead singer, performing an acapella snippet of ‘El Tesoro’ (The Treasure) whilst the sound engineers made adjustments. The session was finalised with the whole band playing a bunch of songs with the full-on lighting for the show. It promised an epic night.
London’s Argentinian community gathered as the doors opened. You could really feel the excitement in the room as the anticipation began to build. Once the show started the crowd never stopped chanting and praising the band in between songs. Strobe lights illuminated the whole show while the crowd jumped and danced through the entirety of the 22 songs. Throughout the show, I was constantly approached by members of the audience and told how much they appreciated the band and their music.
The set list included songs from most of their discography, especially from La Dinastía Scorpio (2012) and La Síntesis O’Konor (2017), two terrific albums. Some of my personal favourites were included: ‘Mujeres Bellas y Fuertes’ (Strong and Beautiful Women) which mourns all those women who became and continue to become victims of femicide; ‘Más o Menos Bien’ (More or Less Ok) reflecting on how we live by attempting to keep things relatively stable; ‘El Perro’ (The Dog) a search for a lost and well-loved dog; as well as the insecurity-filled banger ‘Ahora Imagino Cosas’ (Now I Am Imagining Things).
Their music gained huge relevance for me during these last two years of lockdown and this show seemed like a perfect opportunity to showcase indie rock in Spanish. Opening to music from other languages and latitudes will surely bring you pleasant surprises. Check out Él Mató a un Policía Motorizado on Spotify below: