Review: DJ Z-Trip @ The Metro (11/08/12)
Posted on August 20, 2012 by OneEightKevin
In the electronic music scene, there has been no debate more furious than the discussion revolving around what constitutes a ‘real live performance.’ While many have been labelled ‘button-pushers’ and general slackers, artists like Z-Trip continue to champion the old-school approach to DJing.
When I chatted to Z-Trip in an interview a few weeks back, he couldn’t stress enough the importance of his live performance.
As one of the world’s most acclaimed DJs, he described the craft behind his work: “I’m doing it all manual. I’m painting the picture live. From concept to ending, I’m doing it all in front of you.”
Of course, this statement lies in stark contrast to the disgraceful debut performance by Paris Hilton, who literally stood onstage dancing and waving a flag, with her DJ equipment untouched.
Technology has made it possible for virtually anybody to say that they’re a DJ to get more chicks. However, guys like A-Trak, Araabmuzik and Oliver Tank continue to push the boundaries of electronic music with their individual approaches to the live performance.
And so I had high expectations heading into The Metro to witness Z-Trip. Big-ups to Seb from The Metro for looking after us, legend. We arrived in time to witness the final round of the Red Bull Thr3estyle competition, in which entrants had to spin three different genres in a 15 minute set. Clearly, this sort of competition reflects the diverse and sporadic nature of Z-Trip’s approach to DJing. Later on, Queenslander DJ Butcher would go on to win the competition and be presented with a large novelty cheque. Congratulations homie! Also, I want to take this time to apologise to DJ Butcher for constantly asking him to play Rick Ross, to no avail.
Z-Trip took the stage and surprisingly opened with a rendition of Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites by EDM’s most hated man, Skrillex. This was then mixed into What’s Your Fantasy by Ludacris, before a Dr. Dre interval saw The Next Episode and California Love dropped. I am pretty sure that in the hook ‘California knows how to party’ was actually changed to ‘Australia knows how to party,’ but I might have just made that up.
The set continued in rambunctious fashion, and thank Christ that Rack City made it into the set for a grand total of 8 seconds. The heavy bass of Weezy’s A Milli was mixed into Hip-Hop by legends Dead Prez before morphing into I Got 5 On It by The Luniz. Whenever I hear this song I imagine huge blunts falling from the ceiling, and indeed Z-Trip probably had similar ideas as he asked where all da weed smokers were at.
Oh yeah, you know what else fucking ruled? A mash-up of Niggas In Paris with the intensely sexual Pony by Ginuwine. But just when you think you’ve heard it all, Z-Trip goes along and does a mash-up of Let It Be by The Beatles and Crank That by Soulja Boy. Yeah. He really did do that, and it was awesome. And therein lies the greatest pleasure in witnessing Z-Trip – you never know what the hell is coming next. He may drop a few of the standard house/dubstep tracks that you expect from DJs, and just when you think you’ve got him all figured out, he’ll throw on another record and completely fuck with your head.
Not many DJs have the confidence to play everything from Metallica to Gwen Stefani in one set. Z-Trip can do it because he’s a lord. Oh yeah, that whole ‘doing it live’ thing – it’s true. Z-Trip was up their working his ass off. The new A/V show was also pretty cool, and at one point the whole screen was displaying some glamour blonde athlete warming up in slow motion. Amazing visuals which also kept in theme with the Olympic fever that was sweeping the globe at the time.
In conclusion, Z-Trip was definitely an experience that I would recommend to any music fan – because it’s likely that you’ll hear some of your favourite songs in a brand new context. If you’re a Beatles fan, you probably never thought you’d hear Soulja Boy’s vocals on one of their tracks – you’ll probably be pissed off but at the same time kind of intrigued.
Many big-name DJ sets read like this: Avicii, Swedish House Mafia, Laidback Luke, Skrillex, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Avicii. I’m not going to lie, these sets are really fun, but lose their life when repeated over and over. That’s why seeing Z-Trip is like a breath of fresh air, and one that the electronic music scene surely needs.