The Boiler Room brand has become a staple within live music over the last six years.
Founded back in March 2010, the project has come on leaps and bounds and now boasts weekly shows around the globe. From Carl Cox to Thom Yorke, they’ve hosted thousands of DJ sets and live performances.
Throughout its lifespan there have been several sets that have gone down in history for both good and bad reasons. Skream getting very lairy and throwing a CDJ into the crowd. DJ EZ sculpting his historic three hour New Years Day set. Jamie XX playing on a London rooftop to the most unappreciative crowd imaginable.
Between the gurners, the movers and shakers, the posers and the die hard fans, Boiler Room has captured what it’s really like to get up close and personal to some of the best DJ’s around the world.
However, it’s also highlighted why some DJ’s shouldn’t ever be let near a pair of CDJ’s or turntables ever again. We’ve collated our top ten worst ever Boiler Room sets in one concise list.
Now, it should be noted that this is obviously a subjective list. It isn’t down to a set of professional judges, nor has it had the input of the entire nations opinion. It is a list that has taken into consideration things like fluff ups, inability to read a crowd, lack of effort, terrible mixing, god awful atmosphere and anything that happens that makes us want to scrape our eyes out due to downright awkwardness of the performance.
So without further ado, feast your ears on some of the worst sets imaginable.
10. Alex Russell Boiler Room NYC DJ Set
Our first nominee is Alex Russell’s NYC set. Now, if someone was to tell me that they had randomly selected two members from the audience in a raffle, to get up on stage and try to create a set for 30 minutes, I wouldn’t even question it.
If you can make it through the MC’s obvious intoxication and consistent swearing at the crowd, you’ll be treated to a man playing music from two different laptops with 0% mixing. It’s as though he’s got two Spotify playlists and just decided to have a stab at DJ’ing at the first Year 11 party in school.
Instead, he’s in a room of about 200 people, all of which seem to be having a blast. But I’d be surprised if he knew how many people were there as he spends about a third of the set on his phone. Hopefully he’s looking on Wikipedia to learn how to DJ.
There’s not always something wrong with not imprecise mixing. There have been plenty of sets where DJ’s have used vinyl and a brilliant track selection to keep the crowd going and keep the atmosphere bubbling away without a single beat match. High Contrast proves this in his Mixmag ‘Alter Ego’ set. This is not that time however.
9. Merzbow Boiler Room Tokyo Live Set
First things first, for the love of God, turn your headphones or speakers down.
In what we can only imagine to be a very late April Fools, Merzbow takes white noise to a whole new level. This live set is so ridiculously loud and intense that we can really only listen to it in ten second bursts.
What’s even more dumbfounding is the number of likes it’s received.
8. Chromeo Boiler Room NY DJ Set
Chromeo have arguably made some very good music over their 14 year career. However, what they obviously haven’t done is put as much effort into DJ’ing as they have into music production.
This would normally be fine, if your brother wasn’t A-Trak.
A-Trak who is Kanye West’s tour DJ. A-Trak who was the first DJ to win all three major DJ competition titles (DMC, ITF and Vestax), as well as being the first DJ to win five World Championships. A-Trak who won the DMC World DJ Championship in 1997 at the age of 15, making him the youngest winner in the history of the competition. A-Trak who owns the ‘Fool’s Gold‘ music label and collaborated with Armand Van Helden to form the disco house production ‘Duck Sauce‘.
Normally, not being a very good DJ is fine for an artist. But not when your younger brother is one of the most technical and renowned turntablist’s in the world.
It’s painful to watch A-Trak hover over his brothers shoulder, correcting his mistakes and looking as though he’d rather be behind the bar serving bottles of Budweiser, than be standing next to his older sibling murdering the music.
7. Thom Yorke 30 min Boiler Room DJ Set
Hear us out before you diehard Radiohead fans send angry emails stating why we should jump off a cliff for writing anything negative about your lord and saviour. Thom Yorke makes good music. Radiohead makes good music.
However, Thom Yorke cannot DJ. This is evident in the video below and from a personal experience of seeing him do a surprise set at Latitude Festival in 2015.
Jumping between about five different genres in the space of 30 minutes sounds impressive. What it actually results in, is the DJ having triple the enthusiasm of the crowd. What makes it even worse are the comments on the video.
As aforementioned, Thom Yorke is a good musician. However, if Elvis walked into the middle of a Boiler Room set, took a shit on the floor and then left the building, he wouldn’t get a standing ovation. Because, he’s a musician and creates music. So just because Thom makes good music, it doesn’t mean that everything he does is brilliant.
Thom, you’re great. But stick to producing.
6. Earl Fletcher Boiler Room x GoPro Los Angeles DJ Set
We can’t work out what’s worse.
The girl who intro’s at the start, who tries her absolute best to look as bored and uninterested as possible, or Earl’s inability to stitch two tracks together. 90% of the mixing is done by some other guy.
Yes, Earl Sweatshirt is an incredible artist and has some of the best lyrical flow out of the Odd Future lads. But christ, if you’re going to perform a set in front of three Go Pro’s and it’s going to be put up on the Boiler Room channel, maybe practice a bit before?
Skip to 34:11 to hear Skepta’s ‘Shutdown’ thrown in there. Literally, thrown.
5. DIVA Boiler Room LIVE Show Boiler Room
From now on, this is where things start to get really weird. It isn’t just poor mixing and occasional fluff ups. It’s now full on, inter dimensional, bizarre, what the fuck is this actually a Boiler Room?
How the guys sitting down in the background managed to keep a straight face or didn’t doze off is beyond us.
Repping what we can only describe as the latest in Star Wars Episode VIII fashion, DIVA delivers a ‘show’ that leaves us scratching our heads.
Skip to 15:37 to be treated to some form of interpretive dance.
4. GFOTY Boiler Room x SXSW DJ Set
If you were wondering, GFOTY stands for ‘Girlfriend of the Year’. Already, a bit strange.
But, if you thought that was weird, wait until you listen to 38 minutes of TV samples, happy hardcore remixes, euro house and Pitbull edits.
We’re not sure if this is satirical or not. We’re not sure if we’re missing the point and this is some joke on Boiler Room itself. Either way, whenever a DJ shouts “I never said I was a good DJ” or “If there’s any hot guys out there that want to stick a dick in a pussy, come talk to me later” they probably aren’t having the greatest show of their career.
3. DJ Scotch Egg Boiler Room Berlin Live Set
Famous for making music with Gameboy sound effects, DJ Scotch Egg literally spends about 20% of this set cooking. Yes, cooking. Live. In a Boiler Room show.
Through the distorted reverb and the deafening popping of 8 Bit tracks, he cooks.
In an apron.
2. Otto von Schirach Boiler Room Berlin DJ Set
Good points: The crowd seem to be having fun. There are some ‘interesting’ costumes.
Bad points: This is what would happen if you blended every song in the Top 40 into one. Also, never has there been such a bad mess up in a set, in the history of the world, as what happen at 34:10.
1.Anklepants Boiler Room Berlin Live Set
This is it. This is without a doubt the worst Boiler Room set in existence.
You may disagree with some of the others. You may feel as though Thom Yorke’s wasn’t actually too bad, or that Chromeo’s had a good track list.
But this Anklepants set goes far beyond what is known as ‘alternative’.
It singlehandedly turns every boring song, every rubbish remix, every average show you’ve ever been to, into incredible pieces of art.
This set drops the standards of music right down into the burning depths of hell and then shits them out another 300 miles below that.
Armed with a penis on his face, an outfit that looks as though three medieval jesters have taken acid and morphed into one mighty monster, and a wireless voice changer, Anklepants delivers 43 minutes of absolute unstoppable torture.
Yes, you really did just watch that and yes it is a genuine Boiler Room video.