Live Review: Sayed Sabrina

Venice West  Venice, CA

Contact: Jodie Jackson, [email protected]

Web: sayedsabrina.com

Players: Sayed Sabrina, vocals, keyboard; Bryan Head, drums; Tim Fenton, bass; Brad Black, trumpet; Masami Kuroki, guitar; Vince White, guitar

Material: Showcasing songs from her latest album, Thou Art That, along with selections from Life and Big Boy Blues, Sayed Sabrina delivered a dramatic, enthusiastic show backed by her cohesive five-piece band. From her grand entrance in “That’s When I Know” and her name in lights against the brick stage wall, to the syncopated rock of “What’s Happening Here,” and steady blues foundation of “Listen Up,” the talented musicians provided the perfect backdrop to her powerful vocals and feisty, animated delivery.

Musicianship: The unified quintet had a solid blues sound, highlighted by soulful, gravelly  trumpet solos (with a great arpeggio solo on “The Grande Illusion”), colorful guitar solos, and tight fills and funky drum beats that added to the punctuated band shots (“Goodie Two Shoes” and “Everyday”). A reimagined chill version of “Sister Sad Face” provided a gentler vibe, with Vince White’s intriguing wawa guitar opening, while “Star Shines” shared interesting pre-chorus transitions. “The Devil and the Good Lord” featured Sabrina on keys and had a fun breakdown section, with “Ghosts” unveiling a more slow-grinding, bluesy dirge feel.

Performance: The venue created a relaxed, laidback atmosphere and—as her first show back from a lockdown hiatus—Sabrina presented honestly and was very relatable in her interactions with the audience. Her singing brought dramatic lyrical tension and she demonstrated a good use of vocal belting (“Dirty Dealing”), along with some great vocal leaps (“Everyday”) and contrasting dynamics. The songs ranged from the dark intensity of “The Grande Illusion” to the quieter vibe of the bridge breakdown of show closer, “Turtle Blues,” with its slow build to the outro.

Summary: Sabrina is an energetic, confident performer with powerful vocal ability. With an original sense of style—artistically and vocally—she is at home with her self-expression and does not hold back on stage. Supported by solid musicians creating a firm basis upon which to articulate her artistry, Sabrina presents a ball of artful energy to her show, creating a playful and jovial atmosphere. Clearly passionate about her music, Sabrina’s performances bring together an original and lively mix of music and theatre.