Prepare To Sweat: The Best Aussie Boiler Room Sets Of All Time
From underground kings to outright dance legends.
Back in 2010, an industrious dance fan stuck a webcam up on the wall to livestream an underground warehouse gig in London. Shortly after, that webcam stream would be replicated elsewhere, under the name ‘Boiler Room’.
BR is now a veritable dance music institution, having filmed over 8000 sets in over 200 cities, featuring everyone from local heroes to some of the biggest names in the genre.
This year, Boiler Room will host a stack of events across the globe to celebrate 10 years in the game, and later this month they’ll be taking over Sydney’s Roundhouse to feature sets from Ayebatonye, DJ Boring, Bambounou, and more — head here to check out more details.
To get you prepped, we’ve gone down memory lane and picked out the best Boiler Room sets to grace our shores — from emerging icons to longtime favourites. Dive in.
Nina Las Vegas — 2018
Australia’s resident Queen of Dance didn’t muck around when she made her Boiler Room debut in Melbourne back in March 2018. Her set bounced from spiky to soulful to outright hectic, and she dropped in tracks from M.I.A, Rod Lee, MHD, and yaeji, as well as plenty of her originals.
Head to the 11 minute mark to experience true mixing genius — a tight transition from her Machinedrum remix into Cardi B’s ‘Bartier Cardi’.
Honey Dijon — 2018
Dance legend Honey Dijon graced the BR decks at Melbourne’s Sugar Mountain festival a few years back. Her set — as they always are — was a masterclass in classic house: Come for the opening Stevie Wonder vocals, stay for the liberal amounts of Erick Morillo, Henry Romero, and Chaka Khan, as well as a slick remix of Armand Van Helden’s ‘The Funk Phenomena’.
Having racked up over 4.5 million views at the time of writing, this is one of BR’s most streamed sets of all time.
Jennifer Loveless — 2019
There’s a reason why Jennifer Loveless has become one of the most renowned and respected selectors in the country, and this set, filmed at Universal in Sydney, will give you a fairly good idea why. The Melbourne DJ’s sets are fluid and experimental mixes of house and techno — do yourself a favour and acquaint yourself immediately.
Ta-ku — 2015
Ta-ku premiered his dreamy second EP Songs To Make Up To to an intimate hometown crowd in Perth in 2015.
It’s hard to pick a highlight from the 30-minute set, but it might be the closing track ‘Work In Progress’, when Ta-ku steps out from behind the MIDI controller to sing with a simple piano backing, supplied by mate Will. Goosebumps.
Mr Ties — 2016
In 2016, Boiler Room teamed up with local queer institution House of Mince for Sydney’s annual Mardi Gras. The Italian-born, Berlin-based selector was on the decks for two-and-a-half hours, working his way through a stack of house and party classics — watch out for ‘La Bamba’ at the 27 minute mark.
BV — 2017
Lavurn Lee (Cassius Select), Jarred Beeler (DJ Plead) and Marcus Whale (Collarbones), make up Sydney favourites BV. Their Boiler Room appearance back in 2017 — alongside TOKiMONSTA, no less — is razor sharp: a clattering, unrelenting percussive set that sets your teeth on edge.
Hermitude — 2014
Blue Mountains duo Hermitude power through their acclaimed record Hyperparadise in their Boiler Room set, stitched together with tracks from Aussie favourites The Presets and Flume (their extended remix of ‘Holdin On’ is a joy to behold) as well as plenty of vintage hip-hop cuts.
It’s worth a watch just to see them juggle vocoders, touchpads, keyboards, and wax among the bouncing crowd.
Chet Faker — 2014
Back when Nick Murphy was still performing under his nom de plume Chet Faker, he dropped by a sunny Boiler Room stage on a Melbourne rooftop to walk through tracks from his acclaimed debut Built On Glass.
Don’t expect any dancefloor thumpers here: Faker rolls through tracks like ‘I’m Into You’, ‘1998’, and his cover of ‘No Diggity’ like a gentle wave, surrounded by perhaps the most stereotypical Melbourne crowd that has ever gathered in one place. Lie down and listen to it through headphones, you won’t regret it.
SHYBOI — 2019
Another set to come out of Discwoman’s Boiler Room takeover in Sydney, Jamaican-born, New York-based SHYBOI took over the decks for a frenetic and thumping hour of dancehall, house, and techno. No wonder everyone in the crowd looks so sweaty — turn it up loud and get stuck in.
Derrick Carter — 2014
Boiler Room’s 2014 Sydney session was made in the stars: Simon Caldwell, Derrick Carter, Kali, and Dreems all stepped up for sets over the course of a cloudy afternoon. Carter had the honour of the sunset set, and he filled it with deep house cuts and plenty of classics. One for the ages.
Photo Credit: Honey Dijon courtesy of Boiler Room TV