Beach Club Blues

"'Canes in San Diego's Mission Beach is right on the boardwalk." So begins the SD entry in a Band of Horses "Road Log" story in the last issue of Filter magazine. "It's a fairly disgusting place on multiple levels, and during soundcheck, a bachelorette party comprising five huge women wearing Mardi Gras masks and clutching penis-shaped water bottles wanders through the room.... Things could get a little ugly." Writer Pat McGuire found his fears justified during the July 6 gig.

"The San Diego crowd is not good. The place is packed, but I'd guess that merely half of the people here have heard the band's music before, and the room is filled with annoying chatter in between and even during the songs. The sound isn't mixed well, and Ben [Birdwell, singer] is visibly irritated.

"After the requisite whistles and cell phone camera flashes during 'Funeral,' he goes on a little tirade about how the crowd is only here to 'boost You Tube profiles' and is 'not even looking at the band.' It's not very professional, sure, but at the same time, I see where Ben's coming from. In the dressing room before the encore, everyone is frustrated, complaining about the shittiness of it all."

Before 3105 Ocean Front Walk in Mission Beach became 'Canes, various local bands had lousy experiences at the venue.

Deadbolt played the club when it was known as Chillers in the mid-'90s. Annoyed with the crowd's indifference and drunken heckling, front man Harley Davidson shot back at one patron, "At least I didn't pay six dollars for a fuckin' Slurpee, asshole." (A reference to the club's signature slushy drinks.)

Earlier in the '90s, there was the time aMiniature opened up for the long-washed-up Bay City Rollers, the Scottish glam-pop band of the '70s; management hassled aMiniature for daring to cover Rollers music in their set.

In April of 1997, a year after new ownership changed the name to 'Canes, promoter Bill Silva held a Prince after-show charity event at the club, charging $20 admission. (Silva had promoted Prince's show earlier that evening at UCSD's RIMAC arena.) Problem was, other patrons had already paid to see a different show Silva had booked there: Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, and Thingy (Rob Crow's pre-Pinback band).

The show started and ended early, with only Thingy playing a full set. People were herded out the door just after 10 p.m. Some were told by club personnel they could reenter for free if they lined up outside with everybody else -- not true. The touring bands were furious. Crow was almost assaulted by bouncers when he lingered on the dance floor, gyrating in suggestive lambada moves, his shirt off, stroking his hairy nipples.

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