By the time you read this, 'Canes Bar and Grill will be gone. For nearly 15 years, the Mission Beach venue hosted a long list of big-name acts, like Pavement, Kings of Leon and blink-182, but the Oct. 30 Inner Circle concert was the final show before the neighboring Wave House takes over the space.
Whatever faults people have pointed out about 'Canes (the security guards, drinks too expensive, etc.), it was still the only beachside venue in town that booked national touring acts. With one less club, fewer touring bands and artists will stop in San Diego. Moreover, the place remained independent, locally owned and, unlike a corporate Downtown chain that shall remain nameless, 'Canes made it a point to support local bands, whether with regular local hip-hop showcases or letting artists open for national acts.
People can nay-say all they want, but the loss of 'Canes is a loss for San Diego music. And as you can see by the thoughts, memories and musings that follow, I don't think I'm alone in that statement. After all, nothing feels better after a Tricky concert than a late-night skinny-dip in the surf.
As the editor of SLAMM magazine, I once sent a writer to interview David Cross backstage at 'Canes. The writer showed up completely Hasselhoffed. He referred to himself as “Senator Drinks-A-Lot” and repeatedly, drunkenly asked Cross to come to a beach house with him. Cross eventually snaps, “I'm not going to your friend's beach house.” It was humiliating and hilarious. Cross included a video of the interview on his DVD, Let America Laugh. SLAMM was immortalized, thanks to Senator Drinks-A-Lot. Wonder where he's drinking-a-lot now.
—Troy Johnson, Riviera
I've seen many great shows at 'Canes but would be remiss if I didn't cite Band of Horses as my most memorable. I was filming and taking photos throughout the show, but singer Ben Bridwell threw a tantrum during their hit “Funeral,” flipping me off and calling me out in the middle of the song. It resulted in a blog rant from me and an interview with Ben about the incident on Pitchfork Media. It was my first taste of true Internet vitriol and two seconds of web celebrity, and I never want it again.
—Rosey Bystrak, Sddialedin.com
Eddie Argos, the lead singer of Art Brut, summed that place up perfectly. Gazing out into the crowd in front of him at 'Canes, he announced, “I feel like I'm on an episode of Saved by the Bell. Where's Mr. Belding?” That quote should be chiseled into the sidewalk in front of that building for eternity.
—Dryw Keltz, music writer
Shortly after I moved here, I saw Tricky play at 'Canes. The concert was OK, but I met this girl from L.A., and we ended up making out throughout the concert. After the show, I drunkenly suggested a skinny-dip in the Pacific. Naturally, she seemed hesitant, so I figured the best aphrodisiac would be to strip off my clothes and run in—you know, show her how it's done. She was not there when I got back. Neither were my clothes. I'll always remember that show. And her. Come back to me, my love!
I remember seeing Weezer and Nerf Herder and Fishbone, among so many other legendary indie bands. Plus, I loved hanging in that pathetic “green room” (which was really just a hallway with a mirror and pleather seating and a bathroom). My favorite memory there is knocking on the door and 6-foot blonde Storm Large answered topless. I certainly wasn't the first to ever see her boobies (Google, people), but it was still quite memorable.
—Will K. Shilling, music writer
Say what you will about 'Canes, from the bouncer issues to the fact that it's at the beach and that attracts a certain element, but I've enjoyed many great nights there: Peaches, Peter Murphy, Blur, Scissor Sisters, Turbonegro, Guttermouth, Modest Mouse and Pavement, just to name a few. It will be missed, and I feel the new owners will only be booking beachy bands. None of the above bands could be considered beachy. OK, maybe Guttermouth. Pamela Johnsen, the booking agent of the club, has always tried to offer a diverse calendar, supporting local music and hip-hop, and she will be missed most of all. Thank you, 'Canes!
—Tim Pyles, deejay, FM-94/9