Africa Express ran me over

Last Thursday, my mate Jack (owner of Eiger studios) said that Africa Express (rehearsing at Eiger studios) were about to set off round the UK, that they quite fancied factoring Bradford into their schedule of pop-up gigs, and could I help to mess it up. “NO PROBLEM”, I said. One problem: it was for the following Monday.

So I did the only thing I could think to do in the face of such a massive challenge. I passed it on to someone else.

And so it was that with the supreme efforts of the 1 in 12 Club’s Jim Mitcham, the generous loan of Yorkshire Solar Sounds’ solar-powered PA, the surprising last minute cooperation of the Council, the enthusiasm of Culture Fusion and the cautious permission of the University, four pop-up gigs were booked by Friday and promoted on Twitter. As much as it’s possible to promote something over a weekend, and without a clue who would be playing, where, or exactly what time.

Throw into the mix the fun of being at Bingley Music Live all weekend in The Land That 3G Coverage Forgot.

We had reason to believe that one of the acts who might come to Bradford would be Rizzle Kicks, and dared to tweet that this might be the case, which did much to send the news far and wide among 15-year-old girls, but left us terrified in case we were wrong.

So yesterday morning, with a 20-minute warning, the Africa Express coach pulled up outside Culture Fusion in the centre of Bradford. To our huge relief, Rizzle Kicks stepped off, along with about 40 other musicians including members of Dead Prez and Maximo Park. The first thing I needed to know – so as to stop the flow of tweets begging to know when and where Rizzle Kicks would be playing – was when and where Rizzle Kicks would be playing. So I asked them: “Haven’t got a clue”, they said.

Soon though we had four groups – one headed up the Bradford Royal Infirmary, one headed to City Park, one going to the uni, and one to Culture Fusion (aka the YMCA), with around five minutes to tweet the news about who was headed where.

Despite the obstacles of short notice, it being a Monday morning, little to no info in advance, and being by its very nature a truly ad doc event, it went brilliant well and I managed to run backwards and forwards between Rizzle Kicks and Maximo Park in the YMCA, and Jupiter & Okwess International in City Park. The huge range of people watching each act made it clear that this was the perfect place for this to happen. Seeing people dancing in fountains in Bradford, in the sunshine, on a Monday morning is common, obviously, but still made all the panic worthwhile and we’d welcome them back anytime.

Many thanks to Africa Express, enjoy them when they hit Manchester tomorrow.

 

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