Vigo’s Counterculture

The city’s underground spirit

Vigo is counterculture: a city with a restless, rebellious, urban and creative spirit. An attitude that began in the end of the Franco dictatorship, supported by emerging revolutionary ideas and examples from abroad that disembarked in the port of Vigo.

After the 60's and the birth of rock n'roll, the first local bands began to adopt Anglo standards. The 70’s were the time of police repression in the streets and the arrival of the long hair and hippies. The first generation of local counterculture seamlessly blended the political struggle with their own revolutionary ideas and protest songs. But by the late '70s, the young felt the same weariness regarding politics as their elders.

This led to the birth of the Vigo Movida in 1981, an artistic, musical and aesthetic movement. Siniestro Total, one of the top bands, gave its first concert that year and thus began the craziest and most complex period in the city’s history.

The arts flourished thanks to the Atlántica group, internationally renowned painters and sculptors like Antón Patiño, Francisco Leiro, Menchu ​​Lamas or Antón Lamazares. The Comunicación Poética Rompente Group, formed by Antón Reixa (also a musician), Manolo Romón and Alberto Avendaño, led a revolution in poetry. The city also experienced a boom in fashion design, aesthetics, comics, theatre and video art.

But music was the movement’s engine. Music was what put Vigo on the counterculture map. Along with Siniestro Total came Os Resentidos, Golpes Bajos, Semen Up, Aerolíneas Federales and many others. Venues like El Manco, Kremlin or Ruralex were the usual meeting points. With less than 300,000 inhabitants, Vigo began to rival Madrid musically, and an unprecedented cultural connection between the two was born.

In the 90’s, symbols changed but remained heterogeneous. La Iguana Club, a temple of rock that is still active, opened in 1990 to the cream of the international independent scene; Ruralex was turned into Vademecwm, home to vanguard electronic music, and even techno has a place of reference in the Óxido. Vigo continues to produce bands that rock the national scene (Killer Barbies, Los Piratas or La Marabunta).

New proposals were born in the new millennium, art galleries opened, the Churruca area was fashionable again and the city finally had a Contemporary Art Museum. Festivals like Sinsal, Vigo Transforma or O Marisquiño, bands like Catpeople or The Blows, DJs and groups such as Viktor Flores or Arkestra and artists like Nano 4814 or Jorge Perianes put Vigo in line with the most advanced art movements.