Nite of a 1,000 Slutty Bass Players – My Slutty Valentine at The Echo

A week ago Saturday, we celebrated the birth of one of the greatest men in the history of music – Cliff Burton. Like most, I usually spend the day in both quiet reflection of “what if” and in joyful bliss of listening to the master of bass. I didn’t get nearly enough time for my Cliff devotions and then the universe kindly presented me with a press release about the Morley Power Wah Fuzz Cliff Burton Tribute pedal. Even better the press release had a link to some Cliff live. Cliff Burton bass solo rabbit hole? YES, PLEASE!

So let’s just say that bass was on my mind when I headed over to My Slutty Valentine at the Echoplex on Saturday. Last year I went to Basic Cable Programming’s inaugural one-day music festival to check out Upchuck from Atlanta up close and personal and to spend some time adoring my Bestie on drums with GayC/DC. I ended up falling in love with the whole festival. Not just because it was my intro to Cancer Christ and for the incredible performance from Naked Aggression, everything about the festival had a welcoming vibe. I was definitely one of the older people there and I was so enchanted by the Gen Z music lovers and the overall acceptance that gender roles are bullshit. From the merch booths to the most pits, I had a truly lovely time.

For My Slutty Valentine year two, I planned for the evening to start with The Side Eyes on the patio and end with the Dwarves on the Echoplex stage. A perfect musical sandwich of starting with the kids ripping it up and ending it with Marc Diamond shredding. That alone would have made for a perfect evening, but damn did Basic Cable Programming shove a whole lot of flavor into that epic rock sandwich. And if there was one thing that really stood out – it was the bass players.

The Side Eyes

Overall Saturday at My Slutty Valentine was all killer and no filler. Every band I saw was talented. So perhaps it was all the Cliff Burton that started off my week, but it was like a night of great bass playing. I couldn’t help but wonder, is this what happens when people who grew up loving Cliff Burton have kids? I will never forget the day we found out that Cliff had been taken from us. It was a cold dark day. I think we all felt part of our innocence was lost. This year the last of Gen X born in the sixties turn 55. Some indicate there’s a difference between what is now AARP Gen X and later Gen X. And if the crowd at MSV is a result of that, we did pretty good.

My husband and I got there just in time for The Side Eyes to hit the patio stage and our first mosh pit of the night. It’s kinda impossible not to want to mosh to this power punk rock band. Although it seemed rather obvious that the singer’s Dad’s friends had arrived and we had to let people know, it’s okay to mosh into us. Trust me, we’re good. But it was the man-sized dead bunnies joining the fray that really said, this is gonna be a good time.

Pussy Gillette

Next up was into The Echo for Pussy Gillette. Coming all the way from Austin, and wishing I had asked them to bring me some Schlotzsky’s, the trio were part knife-fight and totally kick-ass. Singer and bass player Masani Negloria wins you over with the stage banter and by carrying on a trend we’d noticed all night, killer bass players. But this is definitely a power trio and the power goes full circle. There were three stages going and in some ways it was pretty easy to navigate the multi-stage line-up, although I cut out a bit early to see the band down in the Echoplex.

As I walked downstairs, I got a feeling I had in a record store in Asheville, North Carolina once when I stumbled across a section called: Noise, Nosier, Nosiest. And that feeling was that I was exactly where I needed to be. I walked towards the side of the stage and waited between songs to ask a nice person who the band was. “Squid Pisser.” “I’m sorry, what did you say?” “SQUID PISSER!” “Oh! They’re quite good” and then we nodded in agreement.

Squid Pisser

I texted my husband to come down and I waited for some openings in the mayhem on the floor to move right up. At one point one of the masked band members, probably the singer, made a comment about bodily fluids and a maternal figure. The crowd started lightly chanting, “It’s Okay. It’s Okay!” Is this a regular thing? Because if this is some safe space lingo, I am LOVING IT!! Fuck yeah, it’s okay! It’s okay because they are hard, they are fast, LIKE REALLY FAST, and the whole band is filling a part of my heart that I save mainly for Lightning Bolt. The creepy masks really added to the overall joyful disgust.

I had to take a moment to look for some sustenance after that. I could not have been more pleased to find homemade cookies! April and her “Little Box of Cookies” had made up some really slutty valentine cookies and at 3 for $5 I probably spent $20 there. But best of all – I had cookies for dinner! Also checked out the merch area where The Crudes were selling some vinyl that caught my interest. But I figured I better hear them play first. Although of all the bands I listened to first,  they were the ones I was most excited about. I had a little time to wait, so I cruised back up to the Echo to catch a bit of the Useless Eaters at the recommendation of a friend. Guess they haven’t played in a while so I’m really glad I caught them. Excellent cool trashy, garage rock. And, you know, another killer bass player.

The Crudes

I got back to the Echoplex as The Crudes hit the stage and I’ll be damned if there wasn’t another killer bass player. (This is where it becomes really obvious that I’m not a music journalist and that I’m just an a-hole with a byline.) They were smooth, they were funky, there was fusion, there was some deep stuff happening, but it was all just so groovy. I wanted them all to be my Valentine. Maybe it was the keyboard/organ player and the singer’s voice but I wanted to say they sounded like an east L.A. version of the Doors at times. They were so great! I was definitely buying that album.

Then it was back up to the Echo for Rinse & Repeat. So did everyone’s parents listen to Mr. Bungle at 4am while they were babies? Perhaps some Primus? Because of course “Jerry Was a Race Car Driver” is kid friendly. Especially this band’s parents. Damn they just so solidly good. Plus killer bass player, ‘natch.

Nü Good

Next up was Nü Godd. I couldn’t remember what they were supposed to sound like as a feminine figure appeared in a very virginal white night dress and was joined on stage by someone very pretty in pink. They basically exploded, but instead of attempting to describe them I’m just gonna post their thank you list from their Bandcamp page. “Thanks to: Indonesian punx, homeless people, sex workers, community leaders, freaks, punk houses, bidets, queers, freedom fighters, people who throw shows, people who house bands, eastside Long Beach, Chaz, and Jmy and Vly for being my artistic mentors and sensei. Long live real rock n roll fuck the police, free all my people, RIP all our dead friends and family.” You get the idea and again, great bass player.

I took a moment to look around while waiting for the Dwarves. I was greeted by a friendly person at the “SHIT ART CLUB” who were tabled in the (formerly smoking?) patio. Now I’ve been telling you that I am definitely one of the oldest people here and this person knows it. After some smiling and nodding I realize I’m being told there’s some free stuff I can take. I apologize for my damaged hearing. If it’s too loud you haven’t seen Van Halen eleven times, am I right? So I’m looking at the stuff but I can’t figure out where I shoved my readers so they wouldn’t get hurt in the most pit. I point at a button and admit it’s all blurry. And this is where the person starts reading and describing things to me and then tells me the button says: failed. Great. I’ll take 2!

Big Fun

That’s the thing about this fest, everyone is so nice. That person was so patient with me. And the real legacy of David Bowie’s gender fluid expression is everywhere and it’s beautiful. This is where there’s truly no labels. Gender roles and labels are just tools of oppression. Without all that stuff and whatever toxic crap people cling onto, there’s just a really cool space. It’s kinda like that future ‘70s TV promised me.

I decided to catch a little Big Fun back upstairs in The Echo. I only need to text my husband “keytar” and he was right up with me. Catchy music, great bass player, and of course – Keytar. We finally joined up with our friends for the Dwarves, all of us settling right in front Marc Diamond as god intended. That ended our night with some shredding guitar and, you know.

Marc Diamond of the Dwarves & your humble narrator.

We missed the earlier bands which I’m now bummed about. Reverse Cowgirls were cruising around so I made a point to listen to them the next day, along with Sugar Pit, who I missed but my husband really liked the bass player. I was a bit sad to walk by merch and see The Crudes had packed up after the Dwarves but like a true miracle, I spotted them in their car out front before they could drive off and insisted they take my money. I haven’t made a record transaction out of the trunk of a car since I was a gray market record ‘distributor’ for a small label in the early ‘90s.

Whatever the parents of the people in these bands were listening to, I applaud them. I could feel everything from King Crimson to Sonic Youth. And I really enjoyed listening to The Crudes record and the other artists from My Slutty Valentine 2024. It’s my favorite music fest now. Every band we saw was good, it was truly all killer and no filler. Which considering the variety of bands, says a whole lot. I hope MSV continues and that I can go next year. Maybe I’ll see some of those killer bass players using that new Cliff Burton tribute pedal from Morley. And if you see April selling cookies at shows, make sure you to treat yourself.

To sign-up for the My Slutty Valentine mailing list, check out:

The Morley Power Wah Fuzz Cliff Burton Tribute pedal is currently available at Guitar Center and Musician’s Friend and goes global April 1st.

All photos by Else “Evil E” Duff.

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