There’s a You Tube video of a slight musician bashing out a stomping blues track in the Cathedral.
He commands the vast nave of the church with his decisive strumming. The only other sound is the instinctive rhythmic chorus of clapping from the crowd.
This man – Mike Hughes – knows how to work a crowd.
And this week Hughes, one of the city’s rising singer songwriters, plays at the Leadmill on the back of a storming Tramlines set and ahead of a productive year.
Hughes has already recorded his album, which has a working title of Not All Who Wander Are Lost. “We did it at Crystal Ship studio in the space of about two weeks,” he says. And there will be more releases to follow, according to the singer songwriter.
Hughes’ songwriting method is organic. “You have to get it down when inspiration hits you because when you try and be creative it doesn’t work. You have to try and catch it when it comes.”
Some inspiration for his songs comes from the news.
“I watch 24-hour news a lot,” says Mike, “And it was the news that in inspired the track Mouths To Feed. It was when the London riots were happening and it made me think about the breakdown of society and the breakdown of religion, the economy and the legal system.”
“Religion isn’t as potent as it as and that’s not a bad thing but society is breaking down and you could see it in that news coverage.”
But while some – not all – of his numbers take a lead from topical events, he’s adamant that his songs aren’t preachy or didactic.
“I’m not trying to tell anybody anything. I’m just holding a mirror up. I can’t do anything about these events and I don’t really say if anyone’s right or wrong.”
More locally-inspired songs include the Battle of Orgreave, “I don’t have to tell you what that’s about,” he laughs.
Hughes plays tomorrow at the Leadmill, in support of Sheffield’s desert rock act Dead Sons.