Photos and Review by Emily Gringorten
Laufey dazzled during opening night of the Bewitched Tour in San Francisco on October 8, 2023. The Icelandic-Chinese jazz singer/songwriter blew it out of the water with her stunning set design, expansive band, and otherworldly vocals.
Due to the gigantic line outside the venue (stretching multiple blocks), I only caught the tail end of opener Adam Melchor. However, I was instantly engaged after seeing his bubbly personality shine through. He transforms music and comedy in a way I haven’t seen before, and had the crowd laughing along to his witty lyrics like he was doing stand-up. Melchor took a brief break after his set before coming back onstage and joining Laufey’s band, along with a string quartet, a double bass player, and a drummer.
The sold out crowd was in awe the second she opened her mouth, starting with the understated bossa nova song “Fragile,” the opening track of her 2022 project Everything I Know About Love. She followed with her hit “Valentine,” which had me unashamedly singing along in the photo pit. The 19 song setlist (including 2 encores) comprised originals and covers, including Keely Smith’s “I Wish You Love.” The crowd used their best singing voices to sing along to every word.
She was greeted by a few friendly hecklers, yelling things like “bring out your sister” (referring to her identical twin), “marry me,” and “play Wonderwall.” All jokes aside, Laufey continued to emphasize how special this night was to her, and spent time telling the crowd more about her songs and how she was feeling. She also played multiple instruments throughout the show, including guitar, piano, and cello. While her band lurked in the shadows, Laufey was illuminated by a spotlight and surrounded by a sky of LED stars. She gave off an aura of sophistication and confidence that had us all starstruck.
After concluding the show with her viral hit “From the Start,” she re-emerged for the encore and played fan favorite “Magnolia.” She also re-invited Melchor onstage for a third time, and the two duetted their song “Love Flew Away” on its special 2 year anniversary.
Laufey is trying to make jazz music cool with the younger crowd, and if she can’t do it then truly no one can. She’s got the whole package of incredible songwriting talent, vocal talent, and a clear vision and image. Her concerts are also proving to be unmissable events, as proven by her instantly sold out upcoming tour. Live, Laugh, Laufey!