Maverick – Limelight2, Belfast– 30-03-2018
Review: Stephen Brophy
Photography: Stephen Brophy
On a very wet and windy Good Friday in Dublin I headed North to Belfast where the weather was actually better and the locals were gathering to attend the launch of the excellent brand new Maverick album ‘Cold Star Dancer‘. Having been lucky enough to review the album for Rockposer Dot Com, it is not a surprise that I have been really looking forward to this show since it was announced.
Opening up proceedings tonight are So Long Until The Séance (S.L.U.T.S.) who I hadn’t managed to catch until now and it was definitely a positive experience, these guys pump out an interesting groove.
There is definitely a distinctive look about them, which all goes to the theatrical side of the band. Having recently supported Michale Graves, the guys look really up for this, and by all accounts that time on tour has done them the world of good, I would have liked the clean vocals to be a little cleaner in the mix, but full effort is being put in and it’s a really enjoyable and very different set to the one we are about to get from Maverick.
Nice to have these guys on my radar now, will definitely keep an eye out for them on future shows, great way to start the night.
The crowd is pumped when Maverick hit the stage, and that just builds as the Intro from the new album ‘Dusk‘ echos around the venue and the guys take to the stage. There’s that feeling something special is about to kick off, and it is, having seen the band many times over the last few years this is without doubt the best they have sounded. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a performance without the odd error, but that’s the essence of live shows, any band starting a song again after a few seconds can often interject a moment of levity, a closer interaction with the audience, just something that breaks the building tension. There are a couple of moments like this tonight, but it certainly doesn’t take away from the quality of the show.
There is an added bonus tonight when original guitarist Chris Van Engelen joins the guys on stage for a song he co-wrote ‘Got It Bad‘ which is a cracker of a rousing rock song, it’s got one of those riffs that ear-worms it’s way into your brain, like so many tracks tonight it’s just great live, this band are just so much fun, it’s hard stay still when they put the hammer down.
Musically they are tighter than ever, Ryan’s guitar tone in particular is wonderful all through the set, but everything sounds big, when trying to explain to a friend after the show it was very difficult to phrase it correctly, it’s not that they are louder, although they are a little heavier that’s not it, but the sound is just bigger, it’s the sound of a more mature band, and it’s a transition from a band with a lot of potential to one that is now fulfilling that potential. OK this may be sound like big talk for a band launching their latest album in their home town, but that’s how big this release and progression is. Steve Moore’s addition to the ranks cannot be underestimated, bringing a range of experience and talent to the live shows, Richie and Jonathan are just so damn solid, this is a band continuing their rise upwards, tonight we get almost all of the new album, and it sounds bloody awesome live, yes I would have loved to have heard their cover of ‘Jessie’s Girl‘ in the set as it’s a cracking cover, but that would have just been an added bonus, not that we are missing out on something.
From the newer tracks on show tonight it’s wonderful to hear ‘Magellan Rise‘, David didn’t need to tell us it’s the bands attempt/version/tribute to Queensryche, it’s bizarre, after the intro I’m fully expecting to hear lyrics from ‘The Mission’ off Operation Mindcrime, after it’s intro and almost spoken word first verse, but it’s such a different track, I’m loving this song but it is very different, David’s vocals are brilliant, I think he needs to get used to singing on longer headline sets, but when he really lets go tonight it’s terrific. The problem they are going to have is pleasing everyone with setlists, they have a tonne of really upbeat rockers that leave little to no breaks, but as every they just get on with things and tonight is all about the band, the fans and airing these songs that many have yet to hear, remember the album has yet to hit the streets, but from the great reaction to the first singles and all of the excellent album reviews I honestly hope this album gets heard far and wide, it is even more impressive live. For me this is the best sounding I’ve heard the band, can imagine they are going to blow some bigger bands away on Festival stages around Europe with these songs.
There really is no other way to end such a cracking set other than with ‘In Our Blood’, a rousing anthemic track that just demands singing along and fists in the air, and the crowd duly oblige. The place is absolutely hoping during this powerhouse finale, Maverick have really been on fire tonight and the smiles on all of their faces as the final notes ring out, tonight has been a massive success. When they get out on Tour anywhere near you go and check them out, on the bus ride back to Dublin there is no napping, just conversation about the show and the songs still ringing loud in our ears.
Cold Star Dancer
Got It Bad (feat Chris Von Englen)
Seize The Day
Kiss Of Fire
All For One
In Our Blood