Catching up with Billy just hours before his homecoming gig at the Roadmender, he confessed to a few nerves.
“Growing up in Northampton, the Roadmender was one of the first venues I’d come to watch bands play with my dad. He told me I’d headline here one day.”
It’s been a hell of a musical journey recently for the Northampton singer-songwriter.
He’s played his latest single Hard Act to Follow on The Late Late Show with James Corden to a global audience in the US, supported chart-topper Lewis Capaldi, opened for Jeff Lynne’s ELO at arenas across Europe and played at the Glastonbury festival.
On Friday he played his first headline gig at the Roadmender as part of 12-date UK tour, joined by Northampton’s Francisco Iannuzzi and Essex’s Mabes.
“I’m feeling more nervous playing here at Roadmender than at London’s O2 arena,” he explained.
“Northampton’s my home town and I’m feeling the pressure to deliver to my friends, family and fan base.
“A lot of people coming tonight have known me from the beginning when my dad used to take me to the pub to sing songs and I want them to feel proud.”
There was an expectant hush in the audience as Billy strode out on stage, sat at his piano and played the first notes to his opening song Blackmail Kiss.
What unfolded was a mix of songs from his new EP, Reset and some of his most successful songs including Fading into Grey and Burn it Down, and a new cover.
Just Billy singing accompanied only by his piano and guitar – no synthesizers, or gimmicks.
If anyone was born to play live, it’s Billy. It’s not hard to see why James Corden invited him to the US after hearing his songs. They are raw, haunting, full of emotion and characterised by themes of loss and redemption.
The emotion he manages to convey in his songs seems to have the ability to unite the audience.
Just before he played Burn it Down, a track he wrote in remembrance of his late father, he asked the audience to take out their mobile phones, turn on their lights and wave them in the air.
As he played the haunting melody it felt as if the whole audience stood together shoulder to shoulder in collective solidarity.
Another personal highlight of the show was his performance of Einaudi which showcased his talent on the piano.
Lockett saved his most recent single and track from his newly-released EP for the end.
Hard Act to Follow is another song about heartbreak and a former girlfriend – my personal favourite of the show.
With his latest EP Reset proving more successful than any of his previous work and in firm musical control, Billy is happy to be home.
And with music scene in Northampton that is going from strength to strength, we are glad to have him back in the fold.
Billy Lockett played:
Covered in Chaos
Burn it Down
Everytime You’re High
Say I’m Sober
Fading into Grey
Hard Act to Follow