Lewis Capaldi has a problem.
“I just want to say now, I have no new music to play you,” he tells the Latitude Festival, two songs into his headline set.
“I rescheduled a lot of shows last year because I was like, ‘Guys, I need to finish my new album’,” he explains. “And I was supposed to do it, but I am horribly lazy.
“So we’re just going to play you all of the old stuff,” he says, prompting a huge cheer.
“I’m glad you enjoy it,” he deadpans, “because it’s all we’ve got.”
The Scottish singer was originally due to headline Latitude two years ago, as part of a victory lap for his Brit Award-winning debut album, Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent.
But even after 24 months out the limelight, he draws the biggest crowd of the festival’s opening day – a feat that does not go unnoticed.
“Thanks for coming back in this many numbers,” says the star. “I always get the feeling people have forgotten us.”
Not a chance.
Capaldi’s lovelorn ballads may not be experimental or complicated, but they resonate like a drum.
Fans of all ages holler the melodies of Hold Me While You Wait and Before You Go with their eyes screwed shut, emotions coursing through their veins.
But Capaldi – looking and sounding ever more like Andrew Strong in The Commitments – sings them better than anyone. His unaffected rasp conveys every battered heartbreak with startling clarity even when, towards the end, he starts to strain against the high notes.
Aware that his material can be heavy-going, he punctuates the set with self-deprecating humour. Spotting a sign that encourages him to take his top off, he responds: “Please do not objectify me, Latitude. I am not a piece of meat, I am a sentient human being.”
Later on, he takes his top off anyway, proudly showing off his “lockdown belly”.
“The baby’s due in March,” he announces. “We’re all very excited.”
He finishes with Someone You Loved, a singalong to end all singalongs, that makes you wonder if a joke about “the pressure to come back with a successful second record” was more loaded than it seemed.
However, music industry rumour has it that the star’s second album is already finished… and that his record label is holding it back for a high-profile Christmas release.
He hints as much before the encore, telling the audience he’ll be back “very, very, very soon”.
We’ll have to wait and see.