Doldrums mastermind Airick Woodhead has lost his trousers. He misplaced them in Berlin, he says, and so is wearing a pair he’s loaned from fellow Canadian and acclaimed tourmate Corin Roddick of Purity Ring. It’s nice when friends help each other out, and it’ll have been nice for Woodhead to watch this year as Purity Ring and his Vancouver-based buddy Grimes have risen from the underground to become all-conquering transatlantic electronic idols. Now though, as those two acts near the end of their tour cycles and a Doldrums album is prepared for the new year, it seems the time has come for Woodhead to step out of the sidelines. Purity Ring aren’t just lending him their trousers; they’re passing him the torch of Canadian electronic music to carry with him into 2013.
Woodhead bobs around the stage, shaking a tambourine like a Mancunian who’s lost his swagger at a rave in the late 1980s – imagine a cross between Ian Brown and Duncan Wallis from Dutch Uncles, or try and picture Austin Williams from Swim Deep’s cooler older brother. On his left, you’ll find a drummer playing a kit that’s half electric, half acoustic, who, when his bass drum kicks in you’ll see look up and smile at the way his rhythms are reverberating through the crowd.
Meanwhile, stage right, there’s a guy in his outdoor coat with his back to the crowd, using a case full of gear to build loops like The Field’s into drenched soundscapes that tease Factory Floor-like industrialism. There are off-kilter swooshes, hip-hop scratches and cut-and-paste crashes that eventually avalanche into something approaching a glitchy, synthesised Deftones. The whole sound pulses through the pillars that keep this snug, low-ceilinged room standing, and it’s completely absorbing. Trousers or no trousers, Doldrums are Canada’s next great electronic export.