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In 2006, Mission Beach’s WaveHouse tested the waters as a music venue by hosting concerts by James Blunt and Ziggy Marley; MTV filmed a Total Request Live segment there that year. Last year the club hosted a show by country artist Blake Shelton, and a Good Charlotte show sold out.

This year the 1100-capacity WaveHouse located in Belmont Park presented 15 shows, including Eek-A-Mouse, Ozomotli…and Unwritten Law plays there on September 6. In previous years, all three of those headliners performed at Canes (900 capacity), which is next door.

“Many of the shows they’ve done this summer we’ve submitted offers on as well,” says Canes owner Eric Leitstein. Though leases are usually written to make sure that other businesses in the same complex won’t sell the same product or service, Leitstein says Canes’ lease does not have a non-compete clause. As owner of Belmont Park, Tom Lochtefeld is Canes’ landlord. Lochtefeld also owns the WaveHouse, which, Leitstein acknowledges, is an awkward landlord/tenant relationship.

To ensure the WaveHouse got its share of the talent pool, earlier this year the venue hired entertainment director Shane Berry (formerly of 4th&B) and talent buyer Diana Martinez (formerly of Belly Up, House of Blues) to book its summertime series. Lochtefeld spokeswoman Heidi Hoff says that most of the WaveHouse shows were booked in-house, while a few were brought in by Clear Channel.

“The WaveHouse kills it because they have a 30-foot by 50-foot stage, and it’s outdoors by the boardwalk,” says one musician/

businessman who has dealt with the WaveHouse. “They also have that wave machine going during the concerts, which adds more visuals. But because they are outside, they have to stop the music by 10 o’clock on weekdays and midnight on weekends.”

Rumors have spread that the WaveHouse has been trying to take over Canes. Hoff says she has no comment on any takeover plans her boss may have. Leitstein would only say that he is in negotiations with Lochtefeld.

“What they want to do,” says Leitstein, “is have the WaveHouse be a prototype so they can sell this concept [live bands in an outdoor setting next to a wave machine] internationally.”

Leitstein says his landlord is “well within his legal rights” to book the bands that have played at Canes. But is it ethical? “I think that’s up for the readers to decide.”

– Ken Leighton

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