- 31 Aug 19
With three seminal albums to work from, Maverick Sabre emerged as one of the highlights of Saturday evening with his performance.
You might be tired of us banging on about the fact that Maverick Sabre is at the top of his game, but we're certainly not tired about saying it.
The Wexford-born artist, who rose to fame following the release of his 2011 debut album, Lonely Are The Brave, released his career best LP with When I Wake Up earlier this year.
Playing at the Rankin Woods stage, his set is a mix of all of his best songs from the Sabre canon. He begins the night with 'Preach', the first song from his new album; an out-and-out statement about his power as a vocalist, showcasing his versatility, in case anyone was questioning him.
He gets the crowd properly going with 'Grace', also from his new album, which pays tribute to his dubstep/drum and bass roots.
Next up is soul track 'I Can Never Be'. The entire song feels like a long, epic journey, which begins with the crowd swaying along in time, before ending with a crescendoing guitar solo and Maverick screaming into the mic.
He parries with the audience for the next few tracks, mixing his early songs with his more recent ones ('Nirvana' is an ethereal trip and showcases the range of different styles which influenced the new album).
After this, he interpolates Usher's 'U Remind Me' and Craig David's 'Seven Days', before launching into 'Follow The Leader'. He does a solid job of this, although George The Poet's presence is, of course, sorely missed.
Then follows a seriously emotional moment, as Maverick's band leave the stage to let him perform an acoustic version of 'I Need'. He lets the crowd do the singing with him, he does the second verse too early, and he lets his mind go blank as he gets caught up in his own lyrics - but all of the improvisation feels raw and captivating. The audience agrees. We're hooked. And, considering that this is his first Irish festival of the summer, it feels like a massive moment for everyone involved.
He ends the set with 'Drifting', the first single from his new album and the one which marked a significant change in his sound. A dreamy, hazy ode to misplaced youth and living in Dublin, it's a fitting way to end the night. We're singing along to every word.
Over a decade since he started, maverick Sabre is still very much an inspiration.