Mostly playing songs from the tour's titular project “Bewitched,” which released Sept. 8, singer-songwriter Laufey entranced viewers at the first of two sold-out shows at Thalia Hall Oct. 21. Wearing a white tank with a sparkling skirt, the Icelandic singer turned the venue into a relaxing evening full of jazz, classical and pop music. Her …
Laufey’s Classic Jazz ‘Bewitched’ Thalia Hall
Mostly playing songs from the tour’s titular project “Bewitched,” which released Sept. 8, singer-songwriter Laufey entranced viewers at the first of two sold-out shows at Thalia Hall Oct. 21.
Wearing a white tank with a sparkling skirt, the Icelandic singer turned the venue into a relaxing evening full of jazz, classical and pop music.
Her opener, alt-indie artist Adam Melchor, started the night on a high with only a guitar. The singer started with part of Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” before transitioning to his own discography.
Melchor added “BUZZER BEATER” from his own discography to his setlist, noting to the audience how it was once Laufey’s most-listened song.
Donning a semi-acoustic guitar, Laufey started the show with “Fragile” from her October 2022 debut album “Everything I Know About Love.” Her angelic vocals were emphasized by the spotlight behind her.
Subdued tunes “Valentine” and “Second Best” followed. In dim lighting, the show started off on a calming note, building in intensity as the night went on.
The singer was backed by her band on drums, upright bass and keyboard with an occasional appearance from Melchor as backup vocals.
Putting aside the guitar, Laufey started the beginning of “Dreamer” acoustic and in the dark. Skipping from one side of the stage to the next, she embraced the song’s lightness. The audience cheered after realizing a lyric change — replacing the word witch for a more vulgar one.
“Oh, my melancholic days / Are few and far away / I’ve had enough, called it off / As far as I’m concerned this bitch is numb to love,” Laufey emphatically sang.
The crowd erupted in joy at the first few chords of “Falling Behind.” Midway through the song, a backdrop of twinkling lights appeared, giving Thalia Hall the ambiance of a jazz club.
Laufey teased the audience with the inspiration for “Beautiful Stranger,” her next song of the night. She said she made eye contact with an attractive man on the London Tube years prior. Being too stunned to talk to him, Laufey instead wrote an entire song about the encounter.
Cheers flowed through the crowd simultaneously as Laufey strummed the semi-acoustic.
“It’s fate we collided right then back there / I wonder if he felt the same thing too / Innocent crush on the morning commute,” she reflected.
The singer returned the guitar back to its stand. Walking across the stage, she took a seat and began playing the cello. Alternating between a bow and finger plucking, she sang “I Wish You Love” from her first project “Typical of Me EP.”
Beginning her song “Promise,” the multi-talented artist switched strings for piano keys.
“I thought, ‘It hurts to be something, it’s worse to be nothing,’” Laufey said in reference to the chorus of “Promise.”
Continuing directly into the next song, Laufey played “Like the Movies.” She sang about wanting a movie-like relationship, referring to herself as “old fashioned” when it comes to romance.
The lights dimmed as a spotlight cast over Laufey who was playing “Nocturne (Interlude)” on the piano. With silence from the audience for almost three minutes, she was able to showcase the extent of her artistry. After she finished the song, Laufey mentioned trying to incorporate classical style music into her discography.
For a song originally recorded with a full orchestra, Laufey brought a string quartet onstage to help her perform “Let You Break My Heart Again.”
The strings continued as the song transitioned into “California and Me.” The quartet was completely synchronized as they plucked strings near the end of the song.
Leaving her place at the piano, Laufey moved back to center stage with an electric guitar to play the tour’s titular song “Bewitched.” Throughout the audience, couples swayed to the romantic love song — a rarity amongst her songs about unrequited love.
The beaming lights dimmed as Laufey soulfully sang the first few lyrics of “Haunted.” The singer’s hair fell in front of her face, fitting the scene thematically.
Walking from one end of the stage to the other, the singer pointed to people in the audience while singing “Best Friend.”
With the electric guitar back in her hand, Laufey started strumming, but the instrument didn’t make a sound. She ran to put the instrument on its stand before the swelling of “Lovesick” began. After the song ended, she explained to the crowd she accidentally unplugged a foot pedal. The song became an improvisation by her and the band.
“I’m always so excited to come and play Chicago,” Laufey said before performing her last song. “You guys are always so fun and nice.”
The jazz influences of “From The Start” rang through the hall with her scat singing. In unison, the crowd sang the lyrics “blah blah blah” loudly.
Laufey said goodnight and left the stage with her band. Still in the dark, the audience chanted for an encore and a silhouette slowly appeared back on stage just before the spotlight met her.
Acknowledging her younger fans, she strummed “Letter To My 13 Year Old Self” to the audience.
Wanting to make every show unique, Laufey said she plays a surprise song at the end of the night. She said she usually decides midway through the set what the song will be, depending on the audience.
Laufey said she wants to bring jazz back to her generation before performing “Misty” from “Bewitched.” Using a lower vocal register, Laufey ended the night with her fingers dancing over the piano keys.
“Would I wander through this wonderland alone / Never knowing my right foot from my left / My hat from my glove? / I’m too misty and too much in love,” Laufey sang.
Featured image by Xavier Barrios / The Phoenix