Z-Trip Phillips Backyard Weekender, Victoria BC, July 26

Z-Trip Phillips Backyard Weekender, Victoria BC, July 26
Photo: Lindsey Blane
I've been to Shambhala six times, so I've heard of Z-Trip (which he joked was pronounced "Zed-Trip" in Canada). Hell, I've probably seen him before. Zach "Z-Trip" Sciacca is about as old school as mashup gets, a collaborator with the likes of Public Enemy, Dan the Automator, Meat Beat Manifesto and Talib Kweli, and the official touring DJ for LL Cool J. He's hard to have miss in the hip-hop and electronic music scenes, really.
Knowing he was opening for Steel Pulse at PBW, Z-Trip put together a special reggae set full of roots, dub, dancehall, ska, rocksteady and new bass shit. He stubbed a couple of Bob Marley tracks together, and even tossed in a remix of the Police's heavily Jamaican-influenced "Roxanne." Near the end of his set, Z-Trip told us that he loved this music, but that was apparent long before then. His set demonstrated an intimate knowledge of the sound, loaded with saturated bass lines, percussive echoes, sleng teng riddims and all the other expectations of the style.
Z-Trip was suitably active on the mixer, gesturing scratches and rewinds on twin turntables, however, comparatively, he wasn't much to look at. He wasn't doing nothing up there either, though. Yet again, he proved himself to be a decent party rocker, smooth and researched, if a little on-the-nose.
Z-Trip made it seem easy. Hell, maybe it is for him. In this setting, it felt like a glacial burn of momentum, people generally jiving in waves of pockets throughout the loading dock, loosening up more and more as the fine confections of Phillips started filtering out on the dance floor amidst the after-work crowd. In any case, getting a virtual education in reggae was a decent way to pass the time, and a worthy table setting for Steel Pulse.