NEW HAVEN ADVOCATE (OCTOBER 28, 2004)
Real good news: Though it's been a while since we've seen him put on a pink muumuu, run around the room in tube socks and sing about canasta, DJ Real (aka Nick Stargu ) is back in town for a pair of shows this week, releasing a new 20-track CD, Can You Hear Me Smile? Yeah! The release party's at the Space on Oct. 28, with guest musicians the Chuck Hestons , Tim Palmieri (of the Breakfast ), Nick Tardif and Chris Angeletti (Stargu's former Karma bandmates). Though DJ Real usually does his clever music-comedy-rap combo solo, he'll play with a live band for most of this show.
Stargu continues to create Real-y funny characters with his quirky dance moves, crazy costumes, rhymes, beats, pre-recorded voice tracks (sometimes the voice of God, sometimes his mom). "Marco," one of the new disc's stand-out tracks, starts out with a voice over the intercom: "Would a Mr. Marco please come to the front desk area. You left your can of fake tan on our table..." As the commentary track at the end of the disc notes, Marco's inspired by a self-absorbed manly-man type you'd run into at a red light on the Berlin Turnpike, revving up his engine:
Hey ladies, look at this face, I'm the hottest guy in the place
Grabbin' the boobs without asking permission
Your man and my fist about to make a collision...
What makes DJ Real the coolest is that he points the finger at himself, too. "You like these beats straight from the keyboards?," he sings in that same song.
Musically, the disc ranges from dance beats to prog to Megadeth metal to Devo to Zappa and beyond, all with a Weird Al Yankovic twist. Stargu says he's "always struggled to find a way to be musical and humorous at the same time, but make the music more substantial." The new CD does just that.
After the Space, DJ Real heads to cafe nine on election night (Nov. 2), teaming up with Northampton-based reggae crew the Alchemystics (with drummer Todd Zullo , formerly of local hardcore legends Jasta 14 ).