1. K’Naan: This was the most memorable show on the year. It was one of those shows that you could just feel so much love and adoration in the room. When the lights came on, everybody had a smile on their face. He was shy, witty and charming all at the same time. He has such an amazing story growing up in Somalia and emigrating to Canada. He is a rapper, a poet and a songwriter.
2. Dub FX: It was his second appearance in Nelson in as many years. He is a street performer who has become famous for his beat boxing and the use of live looping to lay down tracks thereby producing near symphonies using the sound of his own voice. Mostly known for hip hop, reggae and drum and bass, did we mention he is a fantastic singer? He performs with his fiancee, Flower Fairy, and together they make quite the duo.
3. Chali 2Na: The Spiritbar is lucky to get amazing high calibre hip hop artists but none have been more of a true gentleman and class act like that of Chali 2Na, formerly the MC for Jurassic 5. He is perhaps the only artist who hangs out in the bar before he takes the stage, having the time for everyone whether it’s to talk or for a picture. When the show is over, he waits for the last person to leave before he calls it a night. His big baritone voice is unmistakable and we love it when he comes to play.
4. Sweet Pickle: There is nothing like seeing homegrown talent start to emerge in your own backyard. Keegan MacInnis a.k.a. “Sweet Pickle” not only brings great music every time, but it’s some of the other intangibles that make him an all-around great guy. He is one person that we book who will make his own hilarious YouTube promo videos before one of his shows. He is very funny and doesn’t take himself too seriously which we love. His sets are fun and he is, well… sweet, like his namesake. We hope he doesn’t forget about us when he makes it big.
5. The Boom Booms: East Van’s very own performs an eclectic mix of soul, folk, Latin and reggae music. They mostly play all originals and it’s the type of music that packs the dance floor every time. Their travels have taken them far and you can hear the influence in their tunes. There always seems to be an abnormally high percentage of women in the crowd when these guys come to town for some reason…