- 12 Feb 24
The Icelandic polymath started her European tour with a wonderfully intiamte Dublin concert on Saturday afternoon.
Fresh from her Grammy win, Laufey swapped Sunset Boulevard for the much colder and slightly less debaucherous Abbey Street – kicking off her European Bewitched tour with a mesmeric display at The Academy.
A unique daytime show was added due to relentless online demand, and there still wasn’t an inch of floor space, the venue rammed with bow-bearing fanatics well before impressive opening act Adam Melchor strummed his first chord.
The atmosphere was palpable as fans chanted the songstress’ name, before she answered their calls and got right into the wonderfully delicate, samba-flavoured ‘Fragile’.
The old cliché of ‘sounding better live than on the album’ applies here. The band are a proper jazz up outfit - I don’t know many mainstream artists who incorporate a double bass solo into the set.
It shouldn’t be a surprise considering she graduated with a scholarship from Berklee, but Laufey Lin Jónsdóttir is the musical incarnation of the Goddess Durga. She closed off ‘Beautiful Stranger’ with a sonorous cello solo, remaining seated at the instrument to pluck away delicately for the next couple of songs.
If that wasn’t enough, over she went to the piano for the starry, slowed-down portion of the show, where she was seemingly even more virtuosic. Considering her handy guitar playing– watching her switch up instruments with ease will make you think twice before dusting off that old Squier in the corner of the room just to struggle to rattle out 'Wonderwall'.
Tunes like ‘Let You Break My Heart Again’ and ‘Like The Movies’ show that the art of the love song is well and truly alive. The arrangements are remarkable. Laufey stays true to the tradition while incorporating modern pop elements, creating a sound which is sophisticated, catchy, and wholly unique. She’s also incredibly candid in her lyricism, unafraid to pour her affable hopeless romanticism out to the world.
Jazz purists, as they often do, may turn their noses - but who cares. Laufey is bringing her classically trained abilities to the masses and showing her young fans that it’s cool to be really, really good at what are often construed as the nerdier sides of music.
Speaking of her followers, the audience was like a fifth band member, as each melody was harmoniously. If there was a Grammy for having the best-singing fans, Laufey would surely win that too. There were occasions where I had to look over my shoulder checking for a monitor hiding behind me, only to find a 14-year-old matching her heroine note for note.
It makes one wonder why artists with younger fanbases don’t opt for more daytime gigs. It creates a wholesome environment, and allows youngsters to experience live music in all its glory, without the worry of being sloshed by spilling pints or missing the last bus home.
The Dubliners in attendance had the priveledge of being the first sets of eyes (and ears) to be treated to the surprise of the tour, as a very special guest joined the four on stage. To the loudest screeches of the afternoon, out came Laufey’s twin Junia – who offered her violin playing talents, accompanying her sister for an amazing rendition of ‘Best Friend’. With their mother also being an accomplished violinist– its evident that the apple, or apples in this case, don’t fall far from the tree.
The bossa-nova inspired smash it ‘From The Start’ ended the main set. There was something poetically international about an Icelandic musician with Chinese heritage, singing in English to music rooted in Brazil, for an audience in Ireland.
With a sense of things not quite being finished yet, a ribbon-clad stampede rushed back inside for an encore of ‘Letter To My 13 Year Old Self’. It was a fitting way to close things, with Laufey reassuringly serenading her incredibly dedicated young fans not to get caught up in the maelstrom of teenage superfluities - rubberstamping her status as not only a stellar musican, but as a role model too.
Afterwards, some punters went straight from the exit to the back of the que for the evening gig. Not due to open it's doors for another two hours, you'd have been in a right mind to have join them.