Live Review: Billy Lockett / Karima Francis – Leadmill, Sheffield 12.10.2014


The Leadmill is the heart of Sheffield’s music scene and Sunday night was Billy Lockett’s chance to win over the steel city. It was the second night of his Autumn tour, which promises to take him across the UK and Ireland in four short weeks.

The Northampton lad was joined by Karima Francis, a singer-songwriter based in Manchester. Both acts were incredible humble to their audiences; the Sunday evening atmosphere allowed everyone to feel more relaxed, more attentive, and more generous with their time.

Karima Francis was a delight to see. The small, quiet audience must have been intimidating to perform for but she played with confidence and impressed everyone with her fun personality. Between songs she’d chat to the reserved crowd, claiming she needed to “fill the floor with stupid conversation”, keeping everyone cheerful in the silent lulls.

As she introduced herself, Karima Francis said she was working on her 3rd album since 2009. (“2008!” a fan corrects.) The album, currently untitled, will be released through a PledgeMusic campaign, offering exclusive perks to those who support Karima’s music.

All was going well until the last song when the power cut out. This didn’t stumble her, though, as she immediately said “I wasn’t finished… can we do acoustic?” Fortunately the issue was solved and power was restored; Karima Francis played the rest of Perfect Dream after agreeing where she was interrupted: “Second verse, yeah?”

Karima Francis

Then it was Billy Lockett’s turn to play; the first few notes filled the room with warmth and created a relaxing atmosphere. His songs manage to conjure a wide range of emotions; one minute you’re heartbroken and the next you’re laughing. His presence on stage is one of reassurance and comfort, and it was a pleasure to watch him perform.

Between each song Billy would tell his audience the story behind the melodies and what inspired him to write the lyrics. The idea behind Don’t Waste Your Time On Me was a beautiful one: after assisting the marriage proposal of two fans, Billy wrote a story of how the groom will soon go to war and leave his bride behind. (Billy reassures us that the happy couple approve of the song.)

The attentive audience hailed from all generations, highlighting Billy’s ability to write music that fits any age. (Although I will add that the room was predominately occupied by tall, gorgeous, ladies.) His fans are also the most polite people I’ve ever met at a gig, waiting patiently for each song and forming an orderly queue by the merch stand. Billy Lockett seems equally well-mannered, taking the time to talk to everyone who approached him, taking pictures and signing autographs.

Take a chance on Billy and you won’t be disappointed. Make sure you go and say hello.


11th October – Brighton – Komedia
12th October – Sheffield – The Leadmill
14th October – Norwich – Waterfront Studio
15th October – Cambridge – Portland Arms
16th October – Oxford – The Art Bar
19th October – York – The Duchess
20th October – Hull – Fruit
21st October – Leeds – Brudenell Social Club
22nd October – Liverpool – East Village
24th October – Dublin – Grand Social
25th October – Belfast – Black Box
26th October – Edinburgh – The Electric
27th October – Newcastle – Cluny 2
29th October – Hebden-  Bridge Trades Club
30th October – Manchester – Deaf Institute
31st October – Birmingham – Rainbow
2nd November – Nottingham – The Bodega
3rd November – Bristol – Colston Hall
4th November – Exeter – The Cavern
5th November – Southampton – Joiners
6th November – London – The Tabernacle

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