There is no better place to see a starving artist perform than the friendly confines of Schubas Back Room.
It's small, so the artist can be at one with the fan. The sound is warm, and the lights are dim.
Most artists that come through here are by no means starving, but they are definitely hungry and driven. You have to be both to play Chicago on a Monday night in January. Some of the greatest acts have carved their teeth on this stage, and Schubas will continue to define many a band.
On this bitterly cold night in January, it defined Maverick Sabre. He's a star, no longer cutting teeth. He opens his mouth, confidence abounds, and we get a glimpse of the future.
One of an artist who should be playing stadiums, headlining festivals, and selling thousands upon thousands of albums to adoring fans.
But, I'll be the first to say, "Dammit if I wasn't happy with him standing two feet in front of me." His voice is the stuff of legends. His lyrics are heartfelt and soulful. Above all, you can tell he's a gracious and grateful man.
So, just him, and a two-piece band, take the stage and play thru, what felt like, hit after hit.
"Into Nirvana," was the pinnacle of the night. Mixing hip-hop with soul singing, Mav was in his element. Strutting around the stage, waving his towel, urging the crowd to sing, "I said I'll run away, a-way/Yeah, I said I'll run away." To which the crowd responded, "Way, a-way!" His bravado had peaked, and everyone was on board.
This call-and-response continued to happen throughout the night. He broke out his electric and played his most recognizable song, "Slow Down." The audience was obliged to sing the catchy chorus and they responded by chanting, "Slow down, won't you come around!"
What a night of music, from jazz to rock, rap to reggae, it's all here. He's a pub singer, an avant-garde hip-hop star, a protest songwriter, a soul searcher, and a human being. Mav has found his sound, now the world needs to find him.