Ólöf Arnalds

SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo by Todd V. Wolfson

Ólöf Arnalds

Victorian Room at the Driskill, Thursday, March 18

Ólöf Arnalds is a surprisingly lovely blonde who wore a gorgeous blue dress shot through with gold thread; it didn't take long for her striking looks to be matched by her equally striking Icelandic folk-mum music. Joined by David Thor Jonsson on guitar and piano, Arnalds began her set with the title track from her forthcoming album, Innundir skinni. The audience was rapt under the spell of Arnalds' cover of Arthur Russell's "Close My Eyes," from his posthumous Love Is Overtaking Me (2008). She later introduced the song "Klara" from her debut album, Við og Við, explaining that it was an 18th birthday gift for her friend Klara. Klara had advised her not to be nervous for tonight's gig by reminding Arnalds that she is a giant. "So," said Arnalds, "I have spent the entire day trying to remember to" – here she pulls an adorable grimace and puffs her arms out from her sides – "expand." Indeed, Arnalds and Jonsson brought a sense of whimsy to the space without making fools of themselves or the audience, closing their set with a fingerpicked medley of "Englar og dárar," Springsteen's "I'm on Fire," and Jimmie Dale Gilmore's "Tonight I Think I'm Gonna Go Downtown."

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