25,000 People RSVP'd For Charli XCX's Boiler Room DJ Set. 400 People Got In. Here's What It Was Like Inside

“Alex McDonald, front lines, in the cold, we’re in Normandy, cold as fuck, storming nonetheless…” A slightly damp man leaned into my phone, spitting out his words. The girl he was with begged him to stop invoking Normandy (“Alex, please—not Normandy”) but he soldiered on: “No, we’re still in Normandy. But we will survive.”

I was outside a warehouse in Bushwick, the venue for “Party Girl,” Charli XCX’s Boiler Room set. Boiler Room, an innovative music platform, is famous for showcasing up-and-coming talent at parties livestreamed from directly in front of the DJ booth. For fans, this was an opportunity to see their idol in a relatively intimate performance space. Rumor had it 25,000 people RSVPed. Around 400 got in. Some people, like Jenna, 21, had been waiting since 5:30 pm in the rain. It was 8:30 now and the line sprawled blocks. Jenna shivered: “My toes are froze, but my spirit is lit.”

A lot of people didn’t get the lucky email confirmation and rolled up alone, with nothing but platform boots and a dream. JT, 28, came to the event solo sporting a thin paper sign that read “please bring me as your plus one :)” When I asked for a quote she sensed the opportunity to make a little trade: “If I do, can you get me in?” She wasn’t the only one. Olivia Cohen and Sabrina Finkelstein showed up hopeful for a way in. Olivia, 26, told me, “I am in Charli’s .03 percent top listeners on Spotify. Also, I went to a Charli XCX Soul Cycle ride at 7 AM on a Saturday!”

Some people had flown in just for the set, like model Ella Snyder’s roommate Tyra Booker. Tyra, the social director for Ilia Beauty, told me, “Our friend Addison Rae is debuting her new song with Charli, and we love Charli and Addison, so we’re honestly here as supportive friends and fans.” Which is how I found out Addison Rae would be performing—but as I walked down the line the gossip was quickly spreading. Paul, who does Thom Browne’s PR, is “obsessed with Addison Rae.” Nani Gorgeous confesses, “Oooh—I’m turned on by the unknown.”

The venue is run by SAA, which someone in the bathroom queue referred to as “the Soho House of Brooklyn.” Each bathroom stall door had a character on it; together they read 360 BRAT, a reference to Charli’s semi-private finsta.

Nearby, I find a dazed Jessica Menuck and Madeline Fisher, both 23. Madeline tells me they received an exclusive preview of Charli’s new album! “They asked if we wanted to listen to her album! They took us to a little room and they took our phones and they played like five bits of songs. Very cunty, very poppy, very AG Cook, very hyperpop. We got up and started dancing. I’m still sweating.”

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