n_ilk is an eclectic mix of art and music at Dundee's Botanical Gardens
RM Hubbert, Inspector Tapehead, Esperi and Amber Wilson
n_ilk is one of the more outlandish event names you will come across this year but its ethos and message is one of the easiest to grab. It’s codeword for ‘nae ilk’, purporting a sense of uniqueness which runs against the grain, and the self-proclaimed micro-festival today in Dundee Botanical Gardens is close to just that.
There will always be relaxing days in the sun with music lulling the airwaves to a standstill, but today is a bit different. Not only is there acoustic-rooted music on offer from afternoon until nightfall, there’s also a cosy cabin of crafts courtesy of Dundee Jamboree, with everything from the likes of quirky cross-stitch greeting cards from i heart… to Scrabble necklaces from Jolly Good.
Most of the bodies in this unique venue however are here for the music - picnics, rugs and cider absorbing the sun's rays on the green. The impressive RM Hubbert - located inside a warm, plant-infested botanic greenhouse – plays an exotic instrumental acoustic guitar set to a despairingly small crowd, but the lack in numbers only adds to the delicate atmosphere. An odd wailing noise keeps ringing outside, but ears are firmly cupped towards Hubbert’s twisted lullabies.
Over at the ‘main stage’, Amber Wilson particularly impresses with a husky voice reminiscent of Norah Jones; more suited to a night-time jazz club than a day-time jaunt in the sun.However, it’s with Inspector Tapehead that the day’s nugget of gold has been found. They’re the Scottish Flight of the Conchords and the most upbeat act of the day, giving a welcome respite to the introverted acoustic music which has had a stranglehold over the day’s programme.
Loop-based musings draw the night out, including the enthralling Esperi, who manages to build up songs a loop at a time like a dense mathematical equation, and it’s with his DIY ideology towards crafting songs that we see a correlation with the day as whole. Sometimes being that little bit different isn’t a bad thing at all.