If, as Run-D.M.C. first said, a DJ can be a band, then you might expect music made by a group of DJs to sound a bit cluttered. But the three members of Triple Threat--onetime International Turntablist Federation World Champion Vinroc and former Invizibl Skratch Piklz members Apollo and Shortkut--know how to stay out of each other's way. The most effective moments on Many Styles (Fat Beats), the trio's first album, are the most minimal: "Hit 'Em Off" manipulates an itchy rhythm guitar, and not much else, over a busy beat. And even when fellow vinyl fetishists Rob Swift and Roc Raida of the X-ecutioners jump in on "Tha Cipha," there's room to breathe between the zigzagging string parts and dozens of stitched-together vocal sound bites. Triple Threat haven't figured out how to avoid all the pitfalls of DJ-centric albums--too many guest MCs hog space here, especially since the trio's own cuts and scrapes have enough pizzazz to carry the record. But a couple of those appearances almost steal the show: Zion I keeps things moving on the party anthem "Hit 'Em Off," while Ridgi Gong puts the icing on the sharp dancehall cut "Move Down Pressa." Tonight, though, the DJs will have the stage all to themselves. Saturday, April 5, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Trisha Leeper.