Courtesy of Jamis DeKay

Many Yale students now join the ranks of musical artists — including The Rolling Stones, Post Malone and Bob Dylan — who have performed at Toad’s Place. 

The Wednesday night Yale-students-only dance party at Toad’s, known as “Woads,” has been a staple of the Yale experience for decades. Recently, however, the event has taken on a new form, highlighting Yale DJs to headline the event for three of the past four weeks.

Performances by Yale students had not been a common occurrence for the weekly event prior to this string of special appearances.

On Wednesday, Feb. 7, Eli Simon ’24 took the stage under his DJ name “Dionysus.” On Feb. 21, “IfSoWhatFor” — a DJ duo co-led by Jamis DeKay ’23 — was behind the deck, ending the night with a page out of world-famous DJ Steve Aoki’s book by “caking” an audience member in the face.

“Toad’s wants to bring back the energy that made them so iconic,” DeKay told the News. “Their thought was [to] invite artists from Yale in hopes they’d bring their audience and friends with them. It was a blast, we had a ton of fun.” 

Since COVID-19, students have noted that attendance at the weekly dance party has decreased. The DJ performances come from a larger push by Toad’s Place leadership to increase Yale student engagement with the iconic venue, Yale’s Toad’s Place Ambassador Lily Siegel ’23 told the News.

This week, a “Boiler Room” EDM dance party organized by Joshua Gluckman ’24, Matthew Ross ’25 and Michael Connor ’24 appeared at Toad’s. The event included a lineup of nine different Yale student acts who DJ’d from the middle of the Toad’s Place dance floor: Edu, gunnr, HESTERIA, just Josh, Keebo, Kelli + Kiernan, Leo + Dals, Philly and Red & Imo. 

“We pitched the idea to Toad’s, and they were immediately receptive to it,” Gluckman told the  News. “They worked with us to make the event an authentic ‘boiler room’ experience in their legendary venue, and fortunately people had a great time.” 

Boiler Room is an iconic music broadcaster and nightclub promoter. Its events, which take place across the globe, are characterized as “underground raves” featuring electronic dance music, hip-hop, techno and house music. Gluckman’s idea was to model the event after Boiler Room, and his company Lyricity helped bring the vision to life.

The startup, Gluckman explained, curates musical pop-up events for Yale students. All of their events feature Yale student artists. On Feb. 16, the group hosted “Koffee After Dark:” a “pop-up rave” at Koffee on Audubon Street. Now, the startup is looking to expand beyond DJ events and is actively recruiting new musical artists.

The DJs who performed at the Toad’s Place event had a variety of different experiences with performing. While artists like gunnr have DJ’d at events throughout Yale’s campus, this was Leo + Dals’s first time taking the stage. 

“[What] we’re trying to do is give more students opportunities to do live shows, even if it’s their first,” Gluckman said. 

The events have all been well-received by students and have drawn high attendance from Yalies across grades. According to Gluckman, approximately 650 tickets were bought for the Boiler Room event on Feb. 28. 

Toad’s Place is located at 300 York St.

Kaitlyn Pohly is a sophomore in Silliman College. She serves as the Student Life Reporter for the University Desk and previously reported on Student Policy and Affairs. Originally from New York City, Kaitlyn is a History major. Outside of the classroom and the newsroom, Kaitlyn dances with YaleDancers.