The People Of Boiler Room LA are Actually the People Of LA
Aug 12, 2022
Ana Monroy Yglesias
9 min read
On Friday, August 5, I had my first Boiler Room club experience—at the historic Catch One in Los Angeles—and it was everything I could've hoped for. In a disparate scene often catering to VIP clientele, divided by a winding mass of freeways and neighborhoods, Boiler Room LA was the first rave I've experienced that really felt like LA, not just part of it.
The music, DJs and performers, crowd, fashion choices, and vibes across the four rooms felt inclusive, wide-ranging, inviting, and exciting.
When I arrived, I walked up the stairs of the two-floor, 2,000-capacity venue to find the main Disco room serving up neoperreo—the feminist take on reggaetón. Hosted by none other than Chilean neoperreo queen Tomasa del Real, she brought her neoperro party brand and a fierce crew. Tech Girl, Nemix, and Myheartsweat, served up cool sis energy and a rapid-fire mix of booty-shaking hype tunes en Español.
The trio rocked intricate, punky makeup and 'fits. A crew of even cooler, swaggy girls stood behind them, non-smiling, like the best-dressed security guards. Because someone's gotta protect the vibes and the DJs!
Boiler Room LA
The Disco room had the biggest dancefloor and stage of the four rooms. Behind the decks stood elevated platforms for anyone to dance on and possibly become one of the infamous People of Boiler Room. A guy rocking a Playboy t-shirt in the top middle kept smiling at everyone, me included, nodding his head and holding his hands up perpendicular in a "yeah, we winning!" kinda way. May we all be the "I'm just super stoked to be here" guy at some point in our rave lives—cheers to him.
It was hard to leave the neoperreo energy, but it was time to scope out the other three stages. So we wandered to the other side of the upstairs level, where the neon-decked, disco-ball-filled Circle Bar was open. There you can order a drink easily and play vintage video games like Pac-Man (my fave). I posed for pictures under several cute neon signs, peeked back into the disco room, and made my way downstairs to Jewels room (named after the club's iconic original owner, Jewel Thais-Williams).
Joaquin & D33J of LA's Favela Worldwide were hosting and also closed out the night. The room is small, cozy, and full of people dancing and vibing. For those who need extra space to dance or head nod, there are speakers in the adjacent space, which even has some seating.
We continue to No Nazar's takeover in the Underground room, where Atlanta's November Rose delivered groovy Afro house vibes with joy and swag. The bass is deep and strong in this room, and it feels good.
November Rose was rocking round wire-rimmed sunglasses, a stripe of face paint across his nose and cheeks, and a necklace with large yellow beads swung as he danced. At one point, he took off the accessories and handed them to someone on stage as if to really focus on the decks. But by the next song, the entire look returned. His one-ear headphones had the look of a landline phone. And as he cued up each track, it appeared as if he was receiving a call from the divine god of rhythm. "Hello? It's Rose. Oh yes, they'll like that."
In front of the booth, someone was FaceTiming a girl who looked super stoked to virtually tap into the energy. It was unclear if they were part of the squad or fans, but it was pretty cute to witness.
Boiler Room LA
The entrance to the aptly titled Noise room was tucked away downstairs, curated by LA's Bianca Oblivion, easily the loudest and most packed of the four.
Star Eyes was absolutely tearing things up with her quick mixing, high BPMs, and glitchy banging beats. As I entered, she played a remix of Megan Thee Stallion's "Thot Shit." As the doors rattled from the bass, the video screen displayed a yellow Boiler Room logo, surrounded by spinning caution signs. It's only right to put a warning on something so hot.
The set shifted to Latin rhythms and then into more techno-leaning territory. Then, it was time for the "Percolator," but make it glitchy. And that begs the question, when is it not time for the "Percolator"?!
The packed Noise crowd was as lit and diverse as the music. There was a mustachioed "points disposable camera at you" guy. His camera didn't flash. I was unsure if there was film in it. And if there was, wondered where he would develop it or if it mattered.
Of course, there was someone, somehow, talking on their phone, looking very excited about things. Their long side swept bangs, ala "The Karen," bounced violently. She wasn't giving Karen vibes, but we still will dub her Techno Karen. She's chill.
There's a cute little crew, possibly early-to-mid-20s, all dancing joyously together. One girl has a faux-fur-rimmed knit beanie and a tank she cropped into an underboob shirt. Her friend is rocking cheap Oakley-ish sports shades atop his wavy hair, a white tank with "the future is DILF" handwritten on it, and wide-leg denim with an '00s black double-eye belt. I want to befriend them and buy weird sale items at the mall to take home and add flare to.
There's no unspoken uniform at this party. I'm no longer a colorful anomaly in a sea of black t-shirts and dad hats. I'm thriving. Of course, there are some techno cool kid kits, Boiler Room and other dance branded shirts, rave and clubwear, and soccer jerseys of the world. The bountiful cornucopia of LA nightlife came to represent! This party really feels like it's for all of us.
Boiler Room LA
There are disparate squads of different ages that, under normal circumstances, wouldn't coalesce under the same roof in LA. I want to adventure to (almost) all the places they frequent. Boiler Room is for the people and brings them together.
I wish that I could somehow be in all four rooms at once. They're all so fun! I'm not sure if my legs could handle four dance parties at once, though. So, it's time to go back to shake my booty in the neoperreo Disco room, and it was the perfect time to do so, as Tomasa was about to throw down some bars and serve some straight up thot shit, with assistance from DJ Lizz.
Before her live set, she served as Lizz's MC and hype queen. Farruko's 2021 hit "Pepas" was setting the crowd off. Tomasa looked like a real-life Bratz doll, rocking high pigtails with bangs, shoulder-grazing sparkly hoops, dark lip liner and face gems, long nails, and a black latex corseted babydoll dress.
From atop the dancer deck, Tomasa dedicated the set to the perras and began to up the vibes even higher with her rapping. After a solid helping of songs, she exited. "Perdon, perdon, EXCUSE me!" you hear her say without being able to see her. She reappeared with massive black wings for her 2014 track "La Vampira." Perfection. CutThroatCrew came up to do their thrashy 2021 version of "Gasolina." The hot clown girl in their crew rocked out hard to this one.
I tried to enter the outskirts of the platform to witness Tomasa up close, but security let me know it was full. Later, I spot two older white guys in the left corner of the platform, intently taking it in. At one point, one of them raised his Modelo in the air, the universal symbol for "Dale!"
We went back downstairs to Jewels room for more Favela Worldwide tunes. This set felt a bit grimey, with some Jersey club energy, and included my second and final successful Shazam of the night (at least my brain added a few IDs, ha!), a trap-y banger with Brazilian vibes, "Tokyo Drift!" from Koto. They also dropped Robin S's "Show Me Love," mixed with a Timbaland-esque beat.
The crowd here was serving great party energy and peak club people watching. This is where I discovered the best shirt of the evening.
"Time to eat" was printed above an image of the grim reaper holding a large fork and knife behind a bikini-ed bottom in front of him. Obviously, I needed to point this out to at least a few people.
The DJ booth, and the standing ledge above it, is now packed, and one of the DJs passes around the holy water, aka DJ booth tequila.
We closed things out in the Noise room for some more fire served up by host Bianca Oblivion and a taste of the closer Spiñorita. The room is even more packed and quite steamy.
Boiler Room LA
What blows my mind is that the London-based Boiler Room seems to have its pulse on what's hot in dance music and the underground pretty much around the globe. I used to think I needed to go to a Boiler Room of an artist I knew so that I could really engage with the set and have an idea of what I was getting into, but that changed after checking out the Boiler Room stage at the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona in June.
On the last day, I heard it going off and witnessed 19-year-old DJ Travella throwing down super high BPM singeli music from his home country of Tanzania. I had never experienced anything quite like that—the energy was unparalleled, and I was stoked to tap into it for a thrilling, sweaty 45-minutes. And looking back at Boiler Rooms from past years, they often tap artists before they blow up.
Boiler Room celebrates the underground in many cities and is a place for discovery. Wherever I am in the world, if there is a Boiler Room going on, I will try my best to be there. Maybe I need a Boiler Room shirt after all.