LIVE: Maverick Sabre @ Rough Trade East, London

The soulful ex-Hackney resident returns to East London with love, in a candid acoustic performance.
Posted: 1 February 2022 Words: Dominic John Photos: Julian Ramirez

The Rough Trade East experience is something that should be on the bucket list of every live music fan, this time this unassuming venue played host to ex-Hackney resident Maverick Sabre, for his return to the London stage ahead of his upcoming UK tour. 

The London-born - but very much Irish - artist took to the tiny stage with guitar in hand accompanied by just one other musician playing electric guitar. Maverick, in the first of many candid statements let us know this is the first time they had played on stage together, something special to him. Despite the stripped back set-up the sound filled the room, largely due to the singer's powerful yet beautifully controlled vocals.

Straight away serenaded by his soulful voice with songs from his recent album release, Don’t Forget to Look up, it’s an album we learn during the gig was written before/during lockdown and urged us to look to the future and away from all the things that shift focus from what’s important: that thing being love and human connection. His message is spelt out towards the end of the set when he plays ‘Like This’, a soulful rhapsody with beautiful spoken word verses that struck home for the audience. 

The performance, much like the new album, was heartfelt and eclectic. On some songs, like new classic ‘Good Man’, Maverick would do away with the guitar and button up his top button as he transformed into the chart-topping solo artist we’re used to seeing on our screen. At other times, he would stand at the edge of the stage singing as if he was in his local pub or living room (his words). Despite the style of performance, what was important to Maverick on every song was the connection with the audience, something he waxed lyrical about between songs which he successfully nurtured from the moment he stepped on the stage.

There were pepperings of his old music including an acoustic version of ‘Sometimes’ and the last track of the main set was reserved for crowd favourite ‘I Need’. His new music sat proudly alongside his oldies, with many songs sounding familiar on first play. The planned encore slowed down the pace of the evening with new track ‘Something Special’, we saw Maverick pick up the electric guitar and play solo on the stage for the first time that evening. However, he was not done and not happy with leaving it there, so he treated us to an extended rendition of his hit ‘Glory’ which ascended into a pure acoustic sing along following a malfunction with a guitar lead. Maverick ripped the cable out, brought his guitarist to the front of the stage and the show went on with energy and style. 

This is an artist who is truly and deeply glad to be back on the stage and sharing his music with his fans, if Saturday night was anything to go by then the upcoming tour is not to be missed.

Don’t Forget To Look Up is out now via Maverick Sabre's own imprint FAMM.

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