After four years, Maverick Sabre returned with his well-received, third independently released album, When I Wake Up, and his delighted fans came together last week for a sold out show at London’s Electric Brixton.
Beginning with album opener ‘Preach’, its opening cappella showcased Mav’s raw vocal talent and immediately silenced the crowd. His vocals soared over the band’s gentle instrumentation before they launched into the up-tempo and heartfelt ‘Her Grace’. A trio of soulful fan favourites from his debut followed and Mav’s powerhouse croon had everyone dancing. The songs so far demonstrated the diversity of Mav’s musical style and the audience matched this as fans of all ages stood together and countless accents belted out every word to songs, both old and new.
The singer paid tribute to Jamaica’s influence on Brixton’s culture by covering Proteje’s ‘Who Knows’ before treating fans to a whirlwind medley of Khalid’s ‘Location’, Usher’s ‘U Remind Me’, as well as Craig David’s ‘7 Days’. After this euphoric high, the melancholy guitar riff of ‘Turn Back’ silenced fans as K-Koke came on stage for their poignant track on London life that segued effortlessly into ‘Follow The Leader’s’ chorus. When Mav teased another guest, fans shouted frequent collaborator Jorja Smith’s name but this assumption didn’t stop them screaming the venue’s roof off when she appeared. New album highlight ‘Slow Down’ stunned fans but when they flipped it with an old-school garage outro the whole place started jumping. Personal new favourite, ‘Drifting’, with its funky bass and synth-tinged groove, showed Mav’s artistic growth before ending with ‘Come Fly Away’, which elicited the warm vibes of timeless soul classics.
After a quick outfit change from his green shirt to a dark blue floral one, Mav was back on stage for the encore. Alone with his acoustic guitar, he asked permission to perform his first song that received radio-play and recounted texting into Channel U to get it played. His voice cracked with emotion as fans sang along to ‘Shooting The Stars’ and although he messed up the second verse, it was a blessing for fans who got to hear his emotive falsetto all over again. The band returned for ‘Sometimes’, which continued the nostalgic sentiment and was an apt choice for his London show. The performance became even more personal when Mav introduced his father, Victor, who joined him for the new album’s closer, ‘Glory’.
Dapperly dressed and wearing a flat cap, Victor looked incredibly proud of his son as they performed for the first time together, singing the opening as an a cappella that elevated the elements of traditional Irish folk music within it. His band, Irish duo Zestra, and the crowd joined Mav which strengthened these elements and gave it an uplifting grace that demonstrated how music, when performed collectively, can bring people together.