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ØXN in Vicar St review: A spellbinding, bold and brilliant show

Magic swirls in band’s connection as they balance ancient sounds with fizzing excitement of innovation


Vicar Street

The whistle-wind sound of a faraway storm emerges in Vicar Street, the stage bathed in midnight blue. Two Palestine flags are draped in the dim light. The members of ØXN arrive; Radie Peat (also of Lankum), Katie Kim (a brilliant artist whose fandom has long been a sort of good-taste-secret-handshake) the now renowned producer and musician, John ‘Spud’ Murphy and drummer and vocalist Eleanor Myler, of the band Percolator.

ØXN’s 2023 album, CYRM, won’t go away. It feels as though it evolves with every play. The first signing in almost two decades to Claddagh Records, this is a band that describes themselves as “Experimental Orinoco Industrial Pagan Acid Doom Folk”. Somehow even that sells them short.

They proceed with brilliance; the languid precision of Myler’s stunning drumming; how Katie Kim plays synths as though searching in a treasure chest; Peat’s rolling electric guitar almost a mantra on the locomotive Cruel Mother. The Trees They Do Grow High is gorgeous. The Feast is an exercise in restraint. Maija Sofia’s, The Wife of Michael Cleary, is an epic. Peat offers an glimpse into her solo album-in-progress with Do You Love An Apple? God dammit, there’s even a Billie Eilish cover in the encore, Peat pulling Happier Than Ever into a new universe. This is all bold, brilliant, and executed with a spirit of care and liberation.

One of the fun things about ØXN is that you get the sense that the band is slightly amused by the fact that so many people are into them, as though the audience is an unexpected – but welcome – guest of a weekday evening. They repeatedly express gratitude to the crowd, alluding to an internal discussion that perhaps booking a show in Vicar Street was a bit of a reach (the venue is packed to the rafters). This isn’t just a charming band. It isn’t just a collection of supremely talented individuals. It isn’t just people enjoying themselves. Just a handful of gigs in, they are doing that thing that often takes years, creating a sound and an expression that is both of and separate to them, emanating from the space between not just the notes, but whatever magic is swirling within their connection, and in the duality of the warmth of what’s ancient, and the fizzing excitement of innovation.


The show ends on Scott Walker’s Farmer in the City, a thunderstorm of sound and light flashing around the venue. It’s spellbinding stuff. ØXN’s wheel keeps turning. Who knows where they’ll end up?

Una Mullally

Una Mullally

Una Mullally, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes a weekly opinion column