Z-Trip's second-homecoming

The ongoing love affair between genre-busting maestro DJ Z-Trip and his fiercely loyal fans in the Bay Area started almost 10 years ago. San Francisco was one of the earliest cities outside of his hometown of Phoenix to rally around the talented turntable wizard when he first brought his creative collision of hip hop, hard rock, soul, and pop to promoter Mark Herlihy's now legendary Future Primitive Sound Sessions. Z-Trip stepped away from the stylistic blends he made famous with his seminal Uneasy Listening, Volume One collaboration with partner DJ P when he released his major-label debut Shifting Gears last year, but now that Z and Hollywood Records have amicably parted ways, fans can expect a welcome return to his renegade "no samples cleared" habits. Z-Trip gathers friends at his true home away from home when he headlines his own birthday bash on Thursday, July 20, at Ruby Skye at 9 p.m. Admission is $15; call 693.0777 or visit www.rubyskye.com for more info. Dave Pehling


Los Angeles' Jurassic 5 has few peers when it comes to quality live shows. The group always manages to effortlessly dissolve the line between observation and participation. Every MC and his grandmother tries to beg for crowd involvement with a vapid "throw your hands in the air and wave 'em like you just don't care." But J5 resists the lazy man's formula of delivering note-for-note versions of its wholly positive songs and harmonies worthy of a barbershop group. Often the members present material that isn't anywhere on record, from funkdafied takes on All in the Family or Rocky theme songs to something much harder-edged. The group's third album Feedback, due out July 25, has been kept fairly well under wraps, save for the first single "Work It Out" — a surprising collaboration with the Dave Matthews Band — so the perfect opportunity to hear new highlights hits when Jurassic 5 performs on Saturday, July 22, and Sunday, July 23, at the Fillmore at 9 p.m. Admission is $29.50; call 346-6000 or visit www.thefillmore.com for more info. Tamara Palmer


Remember that warm, fuzzy feeling you had when you discovered Little Brother and realized that there was still hope for hip hop? Well prepare for déjà vu all over again. Like North Carolina's LB, Strange Fruit Project hails from a place — Waco, Texas — not normally associated with dope beats and fresh rhymes, and its soon-to-be-released debut album, The Healing, may be the best thing to happen to hip hop since LB's The Listening a few years back. If you're over the hype on hyphy, cranky on crunk, and skeptical of chopped & screwed, SFP's headnod-inducing beats, and intelligent (as in not dumbed-down) lyrics may be just the remedy. Strange Fruit Project appears as part of Om Records' "The Time Has Come Tour" on Friday, July 21, at Mezzanine at 9pm. Admission is $15; call 625-8880 or visit www.mezzaninesf.com for more info. —Eric K. Arnold


For being internationally known as techno voyagers, the members of Swayzak (the nearly decade-old U.K.-based duo of David Brown and James Taylor) possibly have more in common with Jamaican dub producers than their electro colleagues. While many producers avoid playing live like the plague (or mimic spontaneity while their computers do all the actual work), a Swayzak show is so fresh that it's often a surprise to the creators themselves. Songs that began life as up-tempo groovers might metamorphose with new speed or a totally new arrangement in the Swayzak banks of effects processors. The pair will help the monthly minimal techno party "Cargo" celebrate its two-year anniversary on Friday, July 21, at BOCA at 9 p.m. Admission is $15-$18; call 777-4278 or visit www.sfboca.com for more info. — T.P.

 
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