Red Hot Chilli Pipers at Sale Waterside: Live Review
Words: Danny Thornton
As a student of unusual music and a fan of great musicianship, when I was given the opportunity to go and see a group called the Red Hot Chilli Pipers I jumped at the chance. Being unfamiliar with the group previously, I did my research before going and was really impressed by both their great musical technicality and their high profile achievements (The band having won the BBC's When Will I Be Famous talent show and their regular festival appearances and world tours, videos of which are available on YouTube) needless to say I was intrigued to see how their music would work live.
Walking into the Sale Waterside arts centre I was greeted by the closing notes of ZZ Tops Gimme All Your Lovin followed by a great rendition of Amazing Grace. This was a dynamic which would continue throughout the night as the band tore through a set of instantly recognisable and popular rock songs and pulled back at points to play some more obscure traditional bagpipe numbers.
Possibly their most famous cover came next, a medley of Deep Purples Smoke On The Water and ACDC'S Thunderstruck which instantly lifted the energy level in the building right up to 11. Next came Queens Fat Bottom Girls to the utter delight again of the crowd. Other stand out tracks were brilliant versions of The Who's Teenage Wasteland and Survivor hit Eye of the Tiger. Even songs such as Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars sounded fresh and interesting when given the Bagrock spin.
It is definitely worth mentioning that while the band were flawlessly playing these songs they were also moving around the stage and interacting with the crowd at every given opportunity. There was a great bit of banter when it came to light one of members had broken his nose backstage just hours earlier in a bizarre incident involving a chair of all things (much to the embarrassment of the piper in question). This helped keep the energy level up and crowd enthralled in what was technically an instrumental show.
Another standout factor for me was just how crystal clear and well balanced the band's sound was, with the listener being able to hear every instrument perfectly. It was so good in fact that I found myself moving around the room trying to find anywhere the sound wasn't perfect, needless to say I couldn't. Given it was my first time seeing a show at Sale's Waterside arts centre I was incredibly impressed and will be checking out more gigs there.
While the cynic in the room could dismiss a group as bland for playing a set comprised of radio friendly pop songs and accessible rock material, one has to just watch the level of energy coming from this bands live performances and the shear musical talent of the members to realise such statements could only come from a person who hasn't seen this group play live. I can't recommend them highly enough.