Maverick Sabre at Roundhouse, London | Live Review


Hailed by many as ‘the male Amy Winehouse,’ Maverick Sabre – who has sold over 500,000 copies of his debut album, Lonely Are The Brave, in the last four weeks and reached number two in the album chart – is the name on everyone’s lips. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone – evident in the impossible to pinpoint demographic that flooded Camden’s Roundhouse and filled every nook and cranny for the sold out show on Saturday the 10th of March.

Singer Aruba Red took to the stage for the first performance of the night, stripped back face and casual attire all the better for showcasing her vocals. She performed tracks the likes of ‘We’re Gonna Make It,’ ‘Never Die’ and the more upbeat ‘Little Monster Girl.’

Silence transitioning into hard bass, lights suddenly switched off, the crowd erupts for the first time that night. But it’s not Maverick Sabre on the stage, it’s supporting act double BRIT Award and three time MOBO Awards winning UK garage, R&B and hip hop singer and rapper Ms Dynamite; her presence another testament to Maverick’s standing and prowess.

Opening with the classic ‘Dy-na-mi-tee’ taken from her 2002 album A Little Deeper before transitioning into the more recent ‘Watcha Talkin About,’ it is evident you are watching a seasoned performer – momentarily tricked into believing that what you are witnessing is the main act.

Crowd letting off cheer after cheer, arms are held high as the atmosphere is transformed into something resembling much more of a rave. And, expert at keeping that vibe going, Ms Dynamite jumps up and down on the spot excitedly – energy ever matching that of the audience.

Following DJ Semtex’s customary party-starting tunes, havoc is unleashed for the arrival of Maverick Sabre. Camera phones are whipped out as cheers and screaming voices make up the entrance music for the humble Hackney hailing protaganist.

Starting his set with ‘Memories,’ before transitioning into ‘Cold Game’ (which he performed twice in a row), ‘Where Do We Go’ and more cuts from the album – all of which had the same “ohmygod this is my favourite song” feel to them – the 21 year old has an unfaultable stage presence, commanding attention with his well enunciated, passionately unleashed vocals that are, undeniably Winehouse-esque.

Eyes squeezed tightly shut Maverick clenches the mic, face at times so passionately disgruntled it appears he is being personally aggrieved at that very moment – until an uncontrollable smile wipes it out – one that seems to acknowledge while being simultaneously overwhelmed that the sold out arena know every single word to every single song on his debut album.

“About three years ago I played to about 100 people in the room downstairs and now you’ve all bought tickets to come see me… so thank you,” he says on the emotional night – made all the more so by Maverick’s reaction to what can only be said to be idiots fighting in the crowd. Pausing his performance he urges bouncers to call over the troublemakers, inviting them onto the stage where he tells them to shake hands and hug it out.

“The next song is about you… and we can’t have you guys fighting with each other,” he says, before transitioning seamlessly into ‘Used To have It All’ to an audience of even more stimulated and impressed individuals. This down to earth quality and equal footing with his fan base is exemplified throughout the night with Sabre telling the audience, “It’s just you and me now,” making every person in the sold-out room feel like they were the only one there.

The crowd leave even more thoroughly enraptured and won over than they were upon entry, pouring onto the tube with a multitude of voices attempting to perform their own rendition of ‘I Need’ – the final song of the night. Bubbling voices already excitedly recounting what they had just witnessed – with one stand out observation – Maverick Sabre is set to be a superstar.