IT’S incredible to think an ordinary-looking bloke playing a guitar can sell out Wembley Stadium’s 90,000 seats.

But, hey, enough of Ed Sheeran – let’s talk about that other unassuming singer-songwriter, Michael Chapman, who played to 89,900 fewer people at the tiny Komedia Studio.

Chapman came out of the Sixties folk boom that spawned Bert Jansch and John Martyn. His acoustic playing fits between the former’s traditional approach and the latter’s experimental stuff.

Kicking off with the lovely It Ain’t So, the gruff-voiced Chapman showed off his gob-smacking finger-picking style, which produces multiple sounds and melodies.

Songs like Shuffleboat River Farewell and Fully Qualified Survivor have killer riffs and hooks. But the meat of his 90-minute show was the instrumentals.Trains, Caddo Lake, The Mallard and La Madrugada highlighted his eclectic mix of folk, blues, ragtime and country.

Chapman is a bluff no-nonsense Yorkshireman with a self-deprecatory Les Dawsonish humour. The Rainmaker was prefaced with: “I wrote this on York station ... it’s the glamour that wears you down”. The Lucinda Williams-covered It’s That Time Of Night came with the explanation: “This is about being scared. We’re all scared of something. With me it’s bridal shops.”

Still, you can see why he remains a cult figure. As he explained: “My mother always preferred the instrumentals. She didn’t like my voice. I’m not keen on it either.”

There were shouts for Pictures Of Scarborough, his (very) minor hit from 1970 but Chapman politely brushed him off, saying: “Nah...I’m fed up with it.”

It’s not quite Ed refusing to play Sing but the modestly brilliant Chapman has earned the right to do what he wants.

Simon Copeland