13th April | Trinity
Photos: Lee Ramsey
Immediately struck by Olivia Dean’s youthfulness, age is clearly no barrier for her. After just her first song, I overheard someone compare her to Jorja Smith, but she also moulds Jill Scott’s smooth rasp and the the peppy bounce of a young Rihanna. Her straight-talking, millennial tunes contemplate simple life happenings, like nights down at the pub and falling in love with someone a little wiser than you.
I’m assuming she and her band, consisting of keys, bass and drums, all met at The Brit School where she studied. Either way, they are making one hell of a good thing happen. Simple soul-pop grooves had us swaying and grinning the whole way through, stripped back to showcase her vocals, but vibing just enough energy. She expressed her maturity with a cover of Angie Stone’s ‘Wish I Didn’t Miss You’ and ended on her best tune, ‘Reason To Stay’, which is available on Spotify for your happy absorption.
Following my recent interview with Maverick Sabre and gauging the truck load of passion he piles into his work, I knew his performance at Trinity would be one to log in the top ten list. But I’m not sure I was prepared for the incredible response of the crowd or how slick his chat would be. Having strained his voice in Liverpool, and thus cancelling his Brighton and Birmingham shows, he showed no signs of defeatism as soon as he hit the stage.
Maverick is a hypnotic leader. He commanded the crowd to raise their hands and chant back at him with ease and stamina, never giving up on the idea that the experience was as much as ours as it was his. In moments of euphoria, he clenched his fists like a footballer scoring at the World Cup and the elation surged through us all.
As well as grabbing tracks from his latest album, When I Wake Up including some of my favourites ‘Into Nirvana’ and ‘Drifting’, he tickled us with his older hits too like ‘Let Me Go’. Three quarters of the way through the set, an abrupt mic drop and stage exit for the rest of the band other than the guitarist led to his reappearance for the two to duet ‘Shooting The Stars’. At this point, showmanship became second priority to his voice, demonstrating his ability to drift through modest R&B, folk and soul traits whilst sticking to his fierce, forthright nature.
Alone on stage, the atmosphere was stripped back once more, to him playing acoustic versions on guitar of ‘Sometimes’ and ‘I Need’. It reminded me again that at the core of his creativity lies ruthless messages, worldly regrets and a yearning to mend society through music. His sharp band rejoined him to end his set, so the energy lifted one last time.
Maverick rejoiced in gratitude for the Bristol crowd. I proudly scanned the room, admiring our city’s devotion to quality acts once more. He is a preacher of pure love through music. Grab a ticket for his November tour before its inevitable sell-out.
See Maverick Sabre perform ‘Her Grace’ with Chronixx for COLORS here: