It’s a testimony to Maverick Sabres voice that he sounds as good live as he does on his soul tinged debut album Lonely Are The Brave. Entering the stage to Bob Marley’s ‘Jammin’ certainly set the tone for a laid-back evening with Sabre taking inspiration from multiple genres – encompassing soul, motown, reggae and dubstep.
While the heavens predictably try to pour through the venue’s rafters, Sabre brings a much needed energy to a typical Manchester evening. Beginning with ‘Open My Eyes’- accompanied by female backing singer Chantelle – tuneful melodies and hip hop are effortlessly bridged and it seems hard to define Sabre as either rapper or singer. The rapport with the female heavy audience is evident from the start, as the biggest cheer of the night comes when the singer stripped down to a black vest.
Alongside tracks from his debut album such as ‘These Days’, which samples The Turtles’ instantly recognisable ‘You Showed Me’ – Sabre treats the crowd to a brand new upbeat song ‘Just Smile’. And regularly asking the crowd if they are “old school fans”, Sabre delves back to treasured musical roots with a cover of reggae hit ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ accompanied by a particularly ironic rendition of Seals and Crofts’ classic, ‘Summer Breeze’.
Hit single ‘Let Me Go’ sounds huge with a backdrop of swaying hands and a constellation of lighters and flashing cameras, whilst encore ‘I Need’ proved to be the biggest hit of the night – the refrain ‘I Need Sunshine’ more poignant than ever. Despite wet jeans not yet having fully dried from the persistant Mancunian drizzle, the audience were more than happy to leave the Academy and walk into the night with the lyrics to ‘Just Smile’ echoing around their weary heads.