The bagpipe is about as intrinsically Scottish as you can get. It’s up there with haggis and whisky and for good reason. As a born-and-bred Edinburg-her I can vouch that you’re never far from being able to hear their cacophonous (and admittedly at times acerbic) tones. It’s part of daily life and to me will always speak of home.
These guys are like being at a traditional family Hogmanay party: from the future.
The Red Hot Chilli Pipers, for anyone who wasn’t paying attention, have been doing their funky thing for a good number of years now – almost 15 to be precise. Despite this it was a recent performance on Radio One’s Live Lounge, covering Avicii, that catapulted them further into public view. 3.5 million YouTube views later and here they are, back home for the Fringe.
To say they take ‘bag-rock’ to a new level is to diminish their achievements. They are the rock stars of the genre and based on last nights performance, very rightly so .With a mix of so many genres and artists; from Coldplay, to Queen, to traditional scots, with a touch of electronic dance, they are clever and slick with their choices. Not just because they have a sense of humour with what they do, but because they do it so damn well. Not one ounce of the integrity of their musicianship is lost, as they own every second of it. I smiled from start to finish and yet nothing about it is a joke – these are fantastic musicians, collectively and individually, who know how to rock as well as they do and still, so very remarkably, stay true to their Scottish roots.
What I think impressed me the most were the unison piping sections. Had you asked me a few hours before what I’d expect 3 sets of bagpipes playing in unison to sound like, my reaction would have most likely been a sharp intake of breath and a sour lemon face. However these guys are flawless. The skill, energy, passion and humour on stage is boundless. Add into the mix their dancers, the brass, the drumming and the palpable enjoyment of the audience and you are lucky enough to be witnessing something truly special. These guys are like being at a traditional family Hogmanay party: from the future. They are only doing one more date in the festival – be there!