February 15th, 2017 | Photos

Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin

Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin

Photos and words by David Brendan Hall

More than a love letter to fans of participating artists, Panache Booking’s Valentine’s Day “Village of Love” benefit for Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, was held last night at The Teragram Ballroom as well as in NY and Memphis. In Los Angeles, it was mostly an amor-inspired homage to many masters of mushy music-making, and occasionally a platform for prescient protest. More than a dozen performers – including special guest headliner Mac DeMarco, Ty Segall, Kevin Morby, King Tuff, Jennifer and Jessie Clavin of Bleached, among others – fleshed out the 4-plus-hour affair with 2-3 songs each, mostly acoustic covers with a few relevant originals mixed in.

Mikal Cronin was the sole artist to perform all his own sentimental songs (a hat-trick: “I Don’t Mind,” “I’ve Been Loved” and “Blue Eyed Girl”), but many of the most stirring sets came in the form of stripped down interpretations: the Cairo Gang’s Emmett Kelly took on Richard Thompson’s lovely English folk classic “Bee’s Wing,” the Bleached gang nailed the Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love,” King Tuff’s Kyle Thomas sounded inspiringly soothing on Willie Nelson’s “Hands on the Wheel,” Rodrigo Amarante paid tribute to Angel Olsen (who was coincidentally playing nearby simultaneously at the Wiltern) with “Unfucktheworld,” Julia Holter ambitiously sang an a capella take on E.E. Cummings poem “It is At Moments After I Have Dreamed” and Ty bravely took on “Without You” (originally by Badfinger, but most recently re-popularized by Mariah Carey). Near the end of that number, he faltered slightly, but no matter – Mikal swooped in with his own acoustic guitar and accompanying falsetto harmonies to finish off the song in shaky but superstar style.

Mac, the evening’s previously unannounced special guest, exuded as much comedy as talent during his headlining covers – Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” to “keep it classy” for starts, followed by Burt Bacharach’s “This Guy’s in Love With You” and “Close to You” – by cueing solos from accompanying keyboardist John Kirby (Solange, Blood Orange, Madeleine Peyroux) with hilarious jazz-hands and over-elaborate bows. Though a vast majority of millennial attendees were visibly disappointed by the lack of familiar and full-band songs performed, DeMarco at least appeased fans by busting out a slow-jam version of “Still Together” – dedicated to his “sweet girlfriend, Kira,” who sat watching from the back of the stage – for his fun-loving finale.