Live Review: Laufey transfixed her Oxford Art Factory crowd in Sydney

Who is Laufey? Well, a simple search will reveal that they are a figure in Norse mythology and the mother of Loki. But in reality, it is the first name of an Icelandic singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist that has brought the world of jazz, bossa-nova and to a whole new generation.

She has delivered her jazz-infused love songs, love of books and people to her 1.4 million TikTok followers, that are smitten by her simple, but beautifully delivered odes to love and exploration.

The Oxford Art Factory had a line down the block with fans desperate for a good position in the small venue. With no support act, there was no reason why you’d have to move once inside, so it was the perfect opportunity to nab a good spot. And so it was, at 8:30pm sharp, that the diminutive Laufey took to the stage to ear-splitting screams.

With a guitar and a smile, the singer started with one of her most delicate tracks, “Fragile”, and the crowd immediately swooned and showed off their singing chops. Her delicate voice floated over the crowd with every track, it’s pure and clear tone complimenting her guitar (which was peskily going out of tune often!)

If her beautifully delivered songs weren’t enough, she seduced the audience with her between song banter. “I can’t believe I’m in Australia right now,” exclaimed the singer, “I’ve that said like 20 times today!”.  She also showed off her knowledge of the country dropping Tim Tam and venomous spider references, adding, “It’s like California here, but you dress better!”

Apologising to anyone named James, her rendition of said song was perfect, the song illustrating a quaint and evocative occasion of fickle love and passions gone awry. She had the ability to create a scene with every single track, with little explanations of their origins giving us a peek into her creative process.

With contributions from the audience yelling out what (they thought) the next song would be, she decided to change things up and become less predictable, shuffling her setlist with a giggle. This meant that no-one knew what was next and added an air of expectation to the show.

She shifted to the piano for a rendition of “The Nearness of You” (which she released with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra) and it morphed into her take on Errol Garner’s “Misty”. Her piano playing was sublime and whilst her guitar playing was by no means bad, her ability on the keys trumped her plucking, her fingers gliding across the keys with elegance to jazz standards and her own songs.

It really did feel like Laufey had the ability to transfix the crowd singing anything and this was proven when, earlier in the set, she jokingly started to sing “The Alphabet Song”, only for the crowd to squeal. This lead to a chant of “A B Cs…A B Cs!” after the main set. Of course, returning to stage for the encore, Laufey obliged, giving the most stirring and jazzy version of “The Alphabet Song” you’ll ever hear!

The set was sublime, taking cuts from her already released catalogue as well as a few new singles, including the to-be-released “Promise” – from a forthcoming album announced as finished – which rounded out the show.

The packed and excitable crowd were so enamoured with the artist, transfixed and silent during most songs (unless singing!) and even gave that breath of air once the song had finished before cheering. It was, honestly, the most respectful and wholesome show seen in a long time.


Laufey performed at Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory on 8th June 2023.

Header image: Mick Radojkovic

Mick Radojkovic

I like to consume stuff. Music, comedy, TV, films. Also, nachos and doughnuts. Thank you for your time.