March 3 2015 05:22 PM

New event showcases local glam and hard-rock bands

Chica Diabla

El Cajon Boulevard is about to get sleazier. On Saturday, March 7, Til-Two Club will host its first Sleaze Fest, which brings together 10 bands rooted in '70s and '80s punk, heavy metal and glam rock, including Gunner Gunner, Chica Diabla and The SeKs, as well as DJs and visual artists.

Fest organizer Nats Babel, who plays in Chica Diabla and Mötley Crüe tribute band Too Fast for the Devil, says he wanted to showcase a musical niche in San Diego that often gets overlooked at other festivals and street fairs.

"We have this large underground here of people that like the '70s- and '80s-influenced hard rock, glam-heavy-metal stuff that really gets neglected by the mainstream scene," Babel tells CityBeat in a Facebook chat.

Babel, who hails from Minneapolis, started a similar day-long festival in his hometown, called Backyard Blowout, that grew into a big semi-annual event. He says he wanted to bring that idea to San Diego, hoping eventually to throw a Sleaze Fest twice a year.

"We would have 13, 14 bands doing a counterculture rock and roll festival," he says. "It started in a backyard with kegs of beer and a few bands, and then morphed into a full blown 'fest' over the course of 6-7 years."

Til-Two Club ended up being the ideal venue for Sleaze Fest because it has held similar day-long events in the past, and because, Babel says, "there is no pretension in that spot whatsoever." More than anything, he just wants to offer an alternative to other San Diego festivals and fairs. 

"Overall, I just want to showcase the bands in this town that are the top of their craft in a genre that is very un-San Diego," Babel says. "In business, you find a void and fill it, and that's what I want to do."

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