Review: Africa Express At The Arches
REVIEW: Africa Express At The Arches
Hype. In the world of promotion it’s a bit of a catch 22. If there’s no buzz surrounding an event then it can often be overlooked. Alternatively, hype-overload can lead to the onset of an irrational, sheep-like mentality where after one glance at the ‘going’ list on Facebook, you realise that half of Glasgow is attending. Undoubtedly Africa Express, the brain child of legendary Blur front man and Gorillaz mastermind, Damon Albarn was bound to generate a lot of hype. I went along to discern for myself whether or not it was justified.
You’ve got to hand it to Albarn for the line up. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered such a seamless fusion of different styles, genres and musicians. Despite the size of The Arches there was a really intimate and chilled vibe similar to that of a boutique festival. This probably had something to do with the demographic of the crowd, which was a refreshing mix compared to your average club event. Upon arriving it was clear that Africa Express was going to be a bit different. With the emphasis on spontaneity and collaboration there was an exciting atmosphere of ‘anything goes’. Many of the musicians had to venture outside their comfort zones, but in the spirit of the event they just went with it and the crowd certainly went with them!
Performances from the likes of Carl Barat, Rizzle Kicks and Boubacar really highlighted what Africa Express is all about, leaving the crowd enthralled after a rendition of The Libertines’ ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’, but there were of course the odd collaborations which didn’t work. When M1 (Dead Prez), Kareem Rush and co joined forces for a rendition of ‘Hip Hop’ the anticipation was palpable, but sadly acoustics (comparable to a bunch of rude boy MCs rapping along to a beat on their phone) let them down. This didn’t detract too much from proceedings however, and with other performances from Jack Steadman, Seye, and Baaba Maal proving a hit, there was no doubting Africa Express had delivered what they set out to achieve...
Africa Express Website
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The Arches Website
The Arches on Facebook