Upon entering Schubas for this quick two act bill, I instantly felt a sense of deja vu. A few years a ago I was lucky enough to see Jorja Smith perform on the same stage. I found Smith through her features on Drake’s mixtape More Life, becoming an instant fan. Maverick Sabre was at the show, performing alongside Smith. Sabre’s voice definitely made an impact and now, nearly three years later, I found myself going to a show based of a few features on another artist’s songs. Thankfully this show, which featured R&B artist Reece, delivered on a similar feeling I had about Smith at that previous show: Maverick Sabre is set to be a star.
Reece started off the night with his fund soulful performance that drew the crowd in from the get go. Armed with a mic, backing instrumental tracks, and a glass of wine, Reece looked like he was constantly having a great time on stage. Even as the songs traversed bad relationships, Reece just seemed full of joy as he shared his tracks with the growing crowd. His vibe is easy to groove to and he definitely made a tons of new fans by the end of his short set.
The crowd, while not as large as it should have been, started filling up and was diverse and devoted. A few older fans squeezed their way to the front alongside the younger crowd, both of sharing stories of how they discovered Maverick and just how much the adored him. British and Irish fans made up a sizeable portion of the crowd, delighted to see Sabre success extend as far as it has. As the lights dimmed, the anticipation hit its peak and Maverick Sabre made his was through the excited crowd to a fantastic reception.
His popularity is honestly no surprise thanks to his wide spectrum of sound. Sabre just has it down no matter what the style, from jazzy numbers that illustrate his magnificent voice, soulful tracks the dig deep into his songwriting (“Slow Down”), to straight up reggae riffs that got the crowd moving within an instant. Early on “Guns in the Distance”, Maverick’s anguished plea for help against gun violence, had the crowd mesmerized. During the middle of the set, Sabre pulled out a guitar and presented songs old an new. He spoke candidly about writing songs on a guitar for the first time in quite a while and how he was nervous of how they would turn out live. But unsurprisingly, they were played incredibly confidently and connected with the Schubas crowd immediately.
Sabre had the crowd dancing and singing along with him throughout. “Into Nirvana” sees him dip his toes into more hip-hop laden territory and it was a nice highpoint in the night. It honestly seemed effortlessly, his charisma and genuine enthusiasm for his music emanated from him like a bright light. Towards the end songs like “Let Me Go” and I Need” really put an exclamation point on the evening, letting the die hard fans melt always as he crooned the night away.
Maverick Sabre is set to be a star, and much like Jorja Smith, I expect to see him playing bigger venues soon. For now, I’m glad I got to see him at Schubas.
All photos by Julian Ramirez