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DJs Z-Trip and Radar
Pollution, endless freeway construction, and suburban sprawl make Phoenix, Ariz., look like a budding Los Angeles; on a cultural level, though, the city's reputation is still about as exciting as a TV dinner. But DJs Z-Trip, Radar, and Emile want to break down the notion that the only dope in Arizona comes smuggled across the border. Z-Trip, the most well-known of the collective that calls itself the Bombshelter DJs, earned acclaim from 1995's Return of the DJ Vol. 1 and his cut, "U Can Get With Disc or U Can Get With DAT." The success of that scratch-heavy track secured spots on 1996's Return of the DJ Vol. 2 ("Rock Star") and this year's Audio Alchemy 2 ("Rhythmic Metaphor"): The former features Z-Trip's now-famous Van Halen scratch, where he cuts up "Eruption"; the latter busts the old-school moves with blunt beats and MC shouts pieced together with obscure samples.

While many turntablists hone their skills on the battle DJ circuit, the Bombshelter DJs get their chops from rockin' house parties to their foundations. With emphasis on soul over finger gymnastics, live, Z-Trip works the audience like a '90s version of Run-D.M.C.'s Jam Master Jay, hyping the crowd with microphone in one hand and turntable under the other. Both Z-Trip and Radar regularly spin at parties in the Bay Area, but their upcoming show promises more punch. This is the first time in San Francisco the duo will perform "2 x 4," which means one DJ drops beats on two turntables while the other scratches records on another pair. The Phoenix duo are sure to disrupt any elderly ideas about their hometown being the cultural equivalent of microwavable Salisbury steak.

-- Robert Arriaga

DJs Z-Trip and Radar perform at Future Primitive Soundsessions V featuring Cut Chemist, Nu-Mark, Thomas the Mammal, Craze, Faust, Anna, Felix the Dog, and Stellar Trax Friday, Nov. 28, at 9 p.m. at the Transmission Theater, 314 11th St. (at Folsom). Tickets are $12; call 861-6906.

 
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