Maximo Park to Join Africa Express
By Rob Ten
Friday 24 Aug 2012 11:19:00
Browse all Music articles

Indie kingpins Maximo Park have today been confirmed to join a star-studded line-up including Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn and African legend Baaba Maal on board the Africa Express at Middlesbrough Town Hall on Monday 3 September.

The familiar Maximo trademarks of hurtling tempos, tuneful angular guitars and Billingham-born frontman Paul Smith’s empathy-drenched lyrics about love, life and ordinary people have helped sell over 2million albums since their 2005 debut A Certain Trigger bagged a nomination for the coveted Mercury Music Prize.

Maximo’s Paul Smith said: “It’s very exciting to play and collaborate with some of the best musicians in the world at Africa Express. It would've been an honour to be in the same room as some of these people, but to be sharing a stage with them is amazing. It’ll be unmissable in every way."

An incredible line-up now includes Blur & Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn, Carl Barat from The Libertines, Jon McClure from Reverend & The Makers, storming Brighton hip-hop duo Rizzle Kicks, East London rapper Kano, chart-topping Australians The Temper Trap, and Nick Zinner from New York’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

And the African contingent boasts a mouthwatering array of international stars including Senegalese legend Baaba Maal (who has sung for Nelson Mandela and worked with U2 frontman Bono), Malian duo Amadou & Mariam (who’ve worked with Coldplay, Blur, U2, and Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour amongst others), Rokia Traore, (who wowed a TV audience of millions on Later with Jools Holland), inspirational Congolese singer Baloji, previous Damon Albarn collaborators Jupiter & Okwess International, and Malian songstress Fatoumata Diawara, who was discovered by UK audiences at a clutch of storming festival gigs last year.

Graham Ramsay of promoters Ten Feet Tall said: “We were already dead pleased with the line-up, but this really is the icing on the cake. It’s great that we’ll now have a born and bred Teessider on stage as part of that amazing collection of international talent. Maximo Park are truly a great band, and it’s fantastic to have them on the bill at this historic event.”

Five years on from their legendary 2007 Glastonbury gig, the groundbreaking collective of African and Western musicians is filling a train with more than 80 musicians for a week-long trip around the UK in September.

Rehearsing and creating new music on the train as they go, each show promises to be a complete one-off – something never to be seen again.

After scheduled gigs in Middlesbrough, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Bristol, the trip will culminate with the train's arrival into London King's Cross before a final concert in the new Granary Square at the back of the station on 8 September.

Africa Express began in 2006 with a trip to Mali, when co-founder Damon Albarn took Fatboy Slim, Martha Wainwright and others to play with acts such as Toumani Diabate, Salif Keita and Amadou & Mariam.

This was followed by the Glastonbury show and trips to Nigeria, Congo and Ethiopia, as well as further gigs in Liverpool, London, Paris and a beach gig in front of 50,000 people in northern Spain.

The Africa Express trip is part of the London 2012 festival and is produced in association with the Barbican.

Africa Express: featuring (from the West) Damon Albarn, Maximo Park, Carl Barat, Jon McClure, Rizzle Kicks, Nick Zinner, and (from Africa) Baaba Maal, Rokia Traore, Amadou & Mariam, Jupiter & Okwess International & many more.

Middlesbrough Town Hall. Monday 3 September. Doors: 7pm. Show: 7.30pm. Tickets: £15.00. Onsale now at the Town Hall Box Office on 01642 729 729, or online at and

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