Review: Billy Lockett at The Boileroom, Guildford

Billy Lockett is a singer-songwriter from Northampton. I first discovered him when he was supporting Jeff Lynn’s ELO at The O2 Arena in October 2018. I was so impressed with his “indie-pop vibe; full of love, emotion and power which sends shivers up my spine with excitement.”

Since then I’ve been following Billy’s music on streaming services and social media. Then last week I finally got to see him at his own show in Guildford.

Billy Lockett live at The Boileroom, Guildford

Billy Lockett’s performance at The Boileroom was powerful, emotional, artistic and good humoured. All his songs are deep, meaningful and personal to his life experiences of love and loss.

The first note Billy played on the piano brought a tingle to my spine. Then when the vocals kicked in, it sounded charismatic and touching. His vocal range is so eclectic where he can sing from low to high throughout songs, which always amazes me.

Billy played a majority of his music collection including; Blackmail Kiss, Every Time Your High, Covered in Chaos, More, Trade Places & Say I’m Sober.

Before playing Burn it Down a piece written in memory of Billy’s late father – he asked the crowd to turn on the lights on their phones and wave them. This was a bittersweet moment with a lovely tribute.

Another incredible moment was when Billy performed a piano piece inspired by his favourite pianist, Ludovico Einaudi. The composition was strong and magical. It made me think of it becoming part of a television or film soundtrack such as Game of Thrones or Harry Potter.

As well as Billy’s instrumental and singing abilities, he also has a rather good sense of humour. In between songs, he would introduce and share stories about his music. Many times he would sarcastically comment on how jolly and happy his songs are, even though they are mostly about loss, grief and heartbreak.

When he introduced the song Alone, he mentioned that before releasing this track, he was going to name it “Die Alone” but his manager was against it because it would appear extremely dark and depressing.

There were many chuckles throughout the show. Billy – if the music career fails, which I’m sure will never happen, or you need a break, I think you could give stand up comedy a try!

The final three songs of the night were of course his three best songs.

It began with the audience enjoying a proper sing-a-long with Fading Into Grey, then Empty House and finally closing with his latest hit Hard Act to Follow.

My only minor disappointed was that Billy did not play one of my favourite tracks My Only Soul.

Billy Lockett’s entire show was simply stunning. It was literally just him, his voice, piano and guitar. No band members, no backing singers, no backing music or synthesisers – just him and his instruments performing simplistic, splendid and sophisticated music.

I would like to add one piece of advice to Billy – As your music career and popularity continues to grow, please make sure you stick to this wonderful, heart-warming melodic sound and do not get brainwashed by the mainstream industry with their overly cheesy pop, techno synthesisers and over complicated computerised instruments and voices. Stick to what you know best and one day you will become stadium and festival headliners.

Support acts at Billy Lockett

There were also two support acts at the event. The first was a guy called Joe Not Joseph from Bordon, Hampshire. For each gig on Billy’s tour he has been inviting local musicians to warm up his shows. Joe Not Joseph performed a nice acoustic set that I enjoyed. However hedid admit on his records, the songs are a lot more tech/pop, which I’m not keen on. I would prefer he stuck to acoustic music. Also he made a joke about how Alton – where I live – is full of posh folk. He’s not been in my neighbourhood then!

The second support act was a female singer-songwriter called Mabes from Billericay. She also plays acoustic music with a beautiful voice. Her music style reminds of another female singer, Lucy Spraggon.

Accessibility at The Boileroom

The Boileroom is a small music venue just outside the centre of Guildford, Surrey. It is basically a pub that has been expanded with a performance stage.

According to the venues website, it has been awarded bronze status in The Charter of Best Practice by the disability organisation, Attitude is Everything.

In terms of entering the building, there are permanent ramps at the entrance and the area to stage is all one level.

The staff are very friendly and accommodating. They are happy to assist with any access requirements.

On the down side, I didn’t get to see much on the stage. By the time I arrived, the front row was already filled. Then as Billy Lockett was due to start, more people kept crowding in front of me. Even with my wheelchair raised to standing height, I could only see a couple of stage lights and the backs of people’s heads – not very impressed!

I don’t particularly blame the venue. It was more the crowd’s attitude towards me by the fact they blanked me and had no curtosy to move slightly to let me see.

People were also climbing over my feet and knocking them throughout the evening. It didn’t hurt me but it was rather irritating. All but one person actually apologised to me and surprisingly it was the first support act who apologised.

I think if I go to this venue again, I will request a spot at the front so I can at least see more than people’s heads.

The biggest issue of the night was trying to find accessible parking. Unfortunately the venue does not have its own car park and therefore I had to park in a public carpark. However there were limited choices there too.

Initially we parked in the multistorey carpark. There appeared to be not many cars in the car park and there was no clear indication as to when it closed. As we were walking out the car park we asked a member of the public if they knew when it closed. The man wasn’t sure but expected it to remain open after 10 pm. He also mentioned to be careful around here as it can be a bit dodgy at night, which wasn’t very comforting at all. It then took us another 20–30 minutes to find the venue. Unfortunately Google Maps was taking us in the wrong direction and the pavements were very uneven and unsafe for me near a main road.

Once we finally arrived at the venue, we made the decision to move the car to the Waitrose car park opposite the venue. There was no guarantee we would be allowed to park there for more than two hours but we felt it was safer parking there than in the multistorey carpark. Plus it would be easier for me to walk back after the show. Luckily we did not get a ticket.

I would suggest that the venue has some kind of accessible parking nearby for disabled customers as we are more likely to drive to these venues rather than using public transport.

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