Home: A Celebration of Chicago

In 2014, Boiler Room touched down in Chicago for a two-headed run of shows focused squarely on the city’s vital and storied scene. We’d been in the city before, capturing footwork’s finest in summer ’13, but wanted to do our bit in properly showcasing Chicago’s musical heritage to the world: across two days, we broadcast to the world the likes DJ Deeon, Kevin Saunderson, Roy Davis Jr, Robert Armani and Phuture‘s first full live show since 1990, across 48hrs that were described as “..in a word, legendary.” We’re delighted to announce our return to the Windy City with an extremely special pair of shows, doubling down on our commitment to celebrating Chicago.

It is truly an honor and a privilege to be asked by the Frankie Knuckles Foundation and Boiler Room TV to participate creatively in this very special tribute to Frankie. It’s been a year since the house music community lost our guiding light, and we should continue to celebrate Frankie’s life and legacy for all he has given to us and the world. – Alan King

On Monday March 30th, we’ll be bringing together revered pioneers with contemporary figureheads, broadcast live from one of the city’s oldest and most beloved institutions (which we’re keeping secret for now!). Gene Farris, DJ Hyperactive, The Black Madonna, Jamie 3:26, Mike Dunn and Andrew Emil aka Change Request will all play across the day with some bonus guests to come: a veritable smorgasbord of local talent with a global standing.

The second broadcast marks an extremely rare, and important landmark for Boiler Room: the only international Official Tribute to Frankie Knuckles, as approved by the Frankie Knuckles Foundation and his estate. The show will take place on March 31st, to mark the first anniversary of his passing, at the city’s indefatigable Smart Bar, where Frankie held a residency since 1982 right up until 2014.
The four DJs on the night all have an intimate and intractable connection to Frankie. Elbert Philips, one of the Foundation’s key figures and a DJ that Knuckles cited in 2002 as a “definite first-choice if I ever need to pass the torch,” will warm up in the role he became accustomed to under the Godfather’s tutelage. Then there’s Alan King, one of longstanding collective The Chosen Few (alongside Mike Dunn, who will play on the 30th) and head producer/promoter of the annual namesake summer gathering, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

I don’t have the words to describe my love for Chicago, and even more-so for House music. Frankie’s “Your Love” will forever be at the top of my list of original Chicago classics. I can remember the first time we dropped the needle on this track like it was yesterday. The synth, bassline, and Jamie’s vocal til this day echos in my head. The influence Frankie had on me like many of the other pioneering Chicago originals, is priceless. I hold House music close and dear to my heart. I’m incredibly grateful to have witnessed it all.- DJ Hyperactive

Also performing will be Michael Serafini, encyclopaedic house guru and proprietor of Gramaphone Records; an environment which gave behind-the-counter experience to the likes of Ralphi Rosario, DJ Sneak, and Mark Farina amongst others. Another Chicago legend to cut their teeth at Gramaphone, and later go on to take up a Smart Bar residency, was Mr Derrick Carter: a long, longstanding BR fav and one of Frankie Knuckles’s dearest friends. The broadcast will close with a final tag-team set with some as-yet-unrevealed surprises.


There will be specially-commissioned artwork available on the ground to raise money for the Frankie Knuckles Foundation [an active Paypal for donations will be available here shortly], with visuals on the 31st provided by Moebius Loop Design (a long-standing Detroit head driving from the Motor City especially). All manner of Chicago music royalty will be attendance to pay their respects to the Godfather of House.
We gathered some choice testimony from a few of the key players with the city’s music scene who will all be involved to speak to Frankie’s legacy and moreover outline the importance of unity underpinning these twinned broadcasts. It’s due to be a very, very special 48hrs of music in the city.

Gene Ferris
What Frankie Knuckles legacy means to me and Chicago can not be put into words, but can only be fully expressed through music. He was the true Godfather of House music to us all.

Czarina Mirani [Chicago 5 owner & Editor-in-Chief]
“I’m so happy to see people that love him carry on his legacy. Frankie touched everyone whether they knew him personally or not. He had grace, charm and unending kindness. He was our House father.”

Andrew Emil
“I knew about Frankie and his status as a selector or selectors long before I ever met him. I would hear stories about The Warehouse and The Power Plant from elder influences and colleagues when I first moved to Chicago in the late nineties. I just knew that this man had captivated more than just a generation that he just had to be larger than life.

He was always a delightful man to interact with outside of music that his approach to music was so centered around what the crowd wants and needs. I think this will be the thing I remember the most. His ability to relate to every single person on that level. His legacy will always love on as the founding father who brought all of the disciples of house together at the same table to break bread.
My eternal love and respect to you Frankie, may you live forever in our hearts.”

Cornelius Harris [Underground Resistance / Alter Ego Management; Detroit]
“It’s no secret. Detroit and Chicago are sister cities. And like any siblings, you can get competitive with each other. But likewise, underneath that competitiveness is love. On a musical level that manifested in the close ties between house and techno.

Given all the above, it should be no surprise that those of us in Detroit who had a love of the pioneers of music here, also had a deep and joyful love of a man like Frankie Knuckles. As a DJ, he was a monster. Legendary. Someone to aspire to. Our own house music legend, Ken Collier, would often cite Frankie as his main influence. And for anyone who was fortunate enough to hear him play, well, there are no words.

He relocated out east, and played all over the world, but for us, he was always Chicago. A brother from our sister city. It seems that life is never long enough. But as short as it may be, we are thankful for the folks who have made this experience more enjoyable. From Detroit to Chicago, thank you Mr. Knuckles.”

Frederick Dunson & Joe Shanahan [on behalf of the Frankie Knuckles Foundation]
“The Frankie Knuckles Foundation and Smart Bar invite you to join us as we commemorate and honor the life and legacy of our beloved friend, Frankie Knuckles at a special Chicago Edition of Boiler Room on Tuesday March 31st. Frankie was the global ambassador for house music and so it is with honor that we carry on his mission. Friend, brother, godfather: we celebrate Frankie Knuckles always.”

For more information on our March 30th showcase, head over here. For more on the 31st, over there.