Canes is finished. After 13 years, Eric Leitstein, owner of the beachfront venue that hosted artists such as Prince, Linkin Park, Maroon Five, and Snoop Dogg, has been informed that his lease will not be renewed. Though Canes sits on city property, the lease for the Belmont Park complex is held by Tom Lochtefeld, who controls the WaveHouse business adjacent to Canes. In 2006, the WaveHouse hired local talent buyers and started booking national acts for its outdoor summer concert series. The WaveHouse initiated an aggressive booking policy, going after many of the acts (Ozomatli, Unwritten Law, Eek-A-Mouse) that regularly played Canes.
Leitstein did not want to go into specifics, only stating that the club “won’t be Canes anymore.” He says some 80 employees will be displaced when his club closes November 1. He would not disclose whether or not he would sell his liquor license to Lochtefeld. He says it was his quality staff and great relationships that allowed Canes to succeed where four other businesses failed. He says the building previously housed Belmont’s at the Beach, the Hop, Chillers, and Sirens.
“Anyone who saw the De La Soul show [at the WaveHouse] would understand why the WaveHouse would want to take over Canes,” says a music-industry insider who did not want to be identified. “The sound was terrible. I don’t think the WaveHouse is set up for live bands.… They need Canes to host bands.” He says he remembers when Canes did not have such a good reputation. “They used to have these real abusive bouncers. They were all juiced up, and they used to be on a huge power trip. I remember when a lot of local punks boycotted that place. But that was back in 2000, 2002. Canes cleaned up its act over the past few years…but [Leitstein] got muscled out.”
A farewell party is being planned for October 27, and the last headliner to perform at Canes will be Jamaican band Inner Circle on October 30.