Entertainment

Nelson expat headlines Boxing Day Bash

DJ Sweet Pickle (a.k.a. Keegan McGinnis) is headlining this year
DJ Sweet Pickle (a.k.a. Keegan McGinnis) is headlining this year's Boxing Day Bash at Spiritbar.
— image credit: submitted

If you’re like many people from Nelson around this time of year, you probably have an advent calendar going, counting down the days.

However, this year — and for the past few years — it’s likely been a countdown from 26. That’s right. The Boxing Day Bash at Spiritbar has developed quite a reputation as one of the best shows of the year: Students are home for the holidays, the Christmas dinner has just finished digesting, and some of Nelson’s best local talent takes to the stage to finish the year in style. Or at least in a sweat-soaked celebratory twerk-off (I hear that’s all the rage, these days).

Kootenays’ own DJ Sweet Pickle, Dexter and B-RON will be the masters of ceremony for the evening. I touched base with DJ Sweet Pickle (aka Nelson-raised Keegan McGinnis) to talk about the event and what he’s been up to.

“Spiritbar on Boxing Day has become a must for those home for the holidays. Its always a great night: lots of high fives and lots of hugs. It's a big reunion and you don't want to miss it,” he says. “With so many great DJ's, producers and live acts in the Nelson area, it feels really good to be headlining the night. I was honoured to be asked to play this year. It basically means being chosen by your peers as it's generally a night of local talent.”

And talented he is. If you know McGinnis, you know that he conceals his work ethic behind a healthy array of self-deprecation, modesty, and humour. One of his ongoing gags: his alter-alter ego as an exercise guru. “I actually quit music for a few months after the summer to try my hand in selling a seven-step program I put my heart and soul into called ‘fABulous — Tighten the Butt, Tighten the Gut’” he jokes. “We ran an infomercial on late night television for a while. However, it was blindingly unsuccessful.” To state the obvious, he clearly did no such thing, but this attitude, and his penchant for not taking himself too seriously, is partly what makes his shows so fun.

“I think people can tell that I love being up there and are able to feed off my energy and in turn, I feed off theirs. Good energy and positivity is contagious and I’m usually in pretty good spirits when I hit the controls,” he says. “Plus, I’m goofy as hell and people seem to like that.”

And for every failure of a fictional exercise product, there’s an accolade that he’s been receiving: he was named one of Spiritbar’s best live acts of 2012 in last year’s {vurb}, he was nominated for Best DJ at this year’s Kootenay Music Awards, and he was invited to play at Shambhala this summer. “Shambhala was crazy!” McGinnis says. “Such a great festival. Such great people. I don't know how else to explain it other than a long series of exclamation points.”

When McGinnis is not filling dance floors and making podcasts (his tres cool Pickle Cast — check it out on soundcloud.com/sweetpickle), he’s building power lines in places with names like Balzac (which gives him a laugh) and Happy Valley-Goose Bay. He’s setting up a more permanent base in Vancouver, but with friends and family still in Nelson, it’s likely that we’ll see him around.

And after such a busy, whirlwind year, is there anything he would change? Does he have any regrets? “Not following through with my full-sleeve tattoo of Alvin and the Chipmunks,” he says.

Regretful indeed. See DJ Sweet Pickle, Dexter and B-RON at Spiritbar on December 26. Doors open at 9 p.m. Tickets are $10.

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