Doldrums Island Stage, Guelph ON, July 24

Doldrums Island Stage, Guelph ON, July 24
Photo: Sarah Murphy
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Doldrums ringleader Airick Woodhead might look unassuming on stage, but he knows how to start a huge party. Beginning his set by asking the audience to close their eyes, he sent a wave of dreamy synth sounds and abstract visual projections across the obliging crowd. But when the opening song ended, Woodhead declared, "That's it with the slow stuff" and exploded into this year's The Air Conditioned Nightmare single "Hotfoot" — and an ensuing set of equally dance-inciting electro.
 
If you had to pinpoint the moment that Hillside transitioned from a daytime folk festival into an industrial rave, it would be mid-set highlight "Egypt" from 2013's Lesser Evil. The wild, jungle-esque beat had attendees trading in their trail mix for glow sticks, and Woodhead managed to wrap the reinvigorated onlookers around his little finger, getting them to chant the track's melody back at him.

From there, the party only got rowdier, with the mild in size but high in energy crowd pulsating along to Doldrums' throbbing beats (propelled most impressively by their live drummer). And although Woodhead frequently dropped out of sight to twiddle and tweak effects knobs on the ground, or in his converted suitcase-turned-soundboard, he more than made up for it with frequent forays onto the speakers and right up to the crowd, as well as animated jumping that inspired festival-goers to follow his lead.