Olof Arnalds @ Union Hall | Brooklyn

Words and photos by Sarahana

Icelandic songstress Olof Arnalds and her charming multi-instrumenalist friend David Thor Jonsson had spent the whole day at a Russian spa, so when they played at Union Hall on Tuesday night, they were in an entirely festive mood. Olof was wearing a flowing dress of no particular shape, which she later confessed was too slippery to let her sit comfortably on the stool, but its free-spirited nature was a fit for the night's mood.

From the minute they came on stage, they owned it as if it was their own living room. With forgotten lyrics, mid-song instructions, sing-alongs, bursts of Icelandic conversations with each other, and even a joke about David's mother's guitar-playing, they made the illusion of a living room much more compelling.

When Olof did a beautiful version of a Hank Williams song, David voluntarily kicked himself out mid-song, after some eyes-only communication in which Olof indicated that she wasn't appreciating the "zack! zack!" style of his hitting the chords. She insisted that David got it from his mother, and that Olof just wanted to be miserable playing a sad Hank Williams song without all of the "zack! zack!'s". David assigned himself the punishment of standing next to the picture of a old woman that famously hangs behind the stage, and assuming her unpleasant facial expression throughout the song.

Well into the show, and to the bewilderment of the respectful and quiet audience, they offered a four-minute break, instructing everyone that they should use it to chat with friends, get drinks and go to the bathroom. During the entire time, David played a loop on the gorgeous toy piano that his friend had bought in New Orleans, and brought to the show just in time.

Olof Arnalds @ Union Hall | Brooklyn