Our Livelihood and Carl Woodford: Dada, Sheffield

Dada is a venue that makes you feel like a teenager has had their way and been allowed to redecorate a grown up’s trendy wine bar. No matter how many music posters you paste to the walls, something of the previous bar, The Trippets will always remain. It’s not surprising then, that the mish-mash décor reflects in the diversity of tonight’s crowd who are an odd mix of casual rockers and after-office-hours drinkers. Similarly, Sheffield based headliner’s, Our Livelihood are a healthy mix of eclectic musical influences, here to promote the launch of their E.P Fallen Green.

Solo support act, Carl Woodford opens tonight with instrumental guitar, tucked in a poster coated corner with light glowing behind him. ‘Card Sitar’ is absorbing and interestingly develops from a sitar to a more Spanish style guitar, to busier loop layered sound broken up with drumming. Woodford hugs the guitar so tightly, it looks as though the guitar is part of his body. The second song is a blues song where Woodford is able to display some American twanged vocals, yet it is soon clear that he is most comfortable performing his folk material, which in true folk style involves some theatrical emphasis on storytelling. I must admit these are not the kind of vocals that usually appeal to me, yet Woodford’s impressive guitar playing more than makes up for this. Saying that, those into Led Zeppelin in their gentler folk moments will appreciate this. Occasionally, he will play an experimental song, much like the first Spanish-sounding song, allowing his hands to intricately dance around the neck of the guitar whilst throwing in sections of clicks and drumming. These are the types of songs in which Carl Woodford’s talent’s shine brightest.

As Our Livelihood open with a melancholy Brit-pop tune, I hope that there is more to this band, but by the strength of third song, ‘Caldera’ I realise these guys are not just another Sheffield indie band. In fact, I soon realise that their heavier grunge choruses, stretched out by Simon Ellis’ vocals tend to make them sound like rock heavyweights, Foo Fighters. By the time Our Livelihood play the funky bass at the start of, ‘Picture Yourself’, I realise we have a winner. This song combines, energetic verses with euphorically heavy choruses to create an intriguing and unexpected favourite on their forthcoming E.P. Songs such as ‘The Preacher’ enable Ellis to show off gentler vocals reminiscent of Radiohead, evidence enough that you cannot quite label Our Livelihood as one particular rock genre. The only disappointment being that when you listen to new record, Fallen Green, you do not get to fully appreciate their raw sound. Our Livelihood are definitely a band best served live.