For anyone wanting to kick off their Jubilee Bank Holiday early and have their own Field Day pre-party, the hip new venue-of-the-moment Birthdays is the perfect place, playing host to Canada’s Doldrums. Now, this idea was never going to be for everyone so the bookers slashed the price 100%, from a fiver to a ever-breezy £0. The price drop seems to have done the trick though, ensuring that the Stoke Newington Road hotspot is bustling upstairs and down. Friends’ Samantha Urbani even popped her head in, as did a rather confused-looking old man bewildered by what is essentially a studio space with a bar.
Starting at a DJ’s timezone of well past midnight, you could forgive people for just wanting to get in, watch the band led by creative figurehead Airick Woodhead do their thing, and leave soon after. But this appeared not to be the case for many, as the more hardcore cram into catch a glimpse of the band’s first UK show like there was no (Field Day) tomorrow. Sonically, Doldrums are huge – despite some rather shoddy technical issues. Every drum hit pierces, as the synth arpeggios drill all around; perplexing and cluttering the mind.
Woodhead’s stage presence is captivating, believably manic as he traipses around the stage, even climbing on the bass drum at one point, seemingly unable to keep still even for one 4/4 drum. But his audience interaction leaves a lot to be desired. “Don’t you all know that every second I’m here is another second I’m not in a cinema watching Prometheus”, he says sardonically. But sneering at the crowd “Are you there, baby? Wake up” pushes it a bit too far and functions as an audio cue for many to leave. Perhaps we’ve caught him on a bad night or maybe everyone’s just getting an early one, but the place is about half-empty by the time the plug is finally pulled at end, a real shame and injustice for and brought on by these nonetheless exciting prospects.