LIVE REPORTGREEN STAGE7/26 FRI
RED HOT CHILLI PIPERS
Piping Hot Kick-off
I don’t know you about you, but there’s something about a man in a kilt. Maybe it’s my British roots, or the fact that I’ve been an English-woman in Japan too long, but kilts plus guitars plus some impressive musical chops meant that the Red Hot Chili Pipers seemed like a good way to kick off this year’s shows at the Green Stage.
The Scottish ensemble bill themselves as the “most famous bagpipe band on the planet – ever” and with their 200+ gig touring schedule, that’s definitely a proclamation no-one can beat. The bagpipes are a somewhat divisive instrument, perhaps a bit like the musical equivalent of natto, so the band’s popularity is tribute to their ability to popularize the instrument.
Resplendent in black and red uniforms featuring black Converse kicks with red laces, black kilts with flashes of red tartan and red sporrans, the band took to the stage with the opening synth chords from Faithless’ “Insomnia”. Reinventing popular songs with a rock fusion of bagpipes and boundless energy, the band was a perfect opening to the stage: feel-good, high-energy reinterpretations that brought a traditional Scottish “bag-rock” twist to popular classics.
Cycling through songs from Coldplay, Jeff Beck, Journey and ZZ Top, a particularly rocking rendition of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” brought classic rock swagger as the band members got into the groove and rocked out guitar to bagpipe. Meanwhile, the quiet reprieve of “Hallelujah” showed off bagpipe harmony and the singer’s own impressive set of pipes (ahem!).
With a repertoire that veers from classic rock, to 90s pop hits (C+C Music Factory), more modern hits from Coldplay and more, the Chili Pipers have created a fun and accessible vehicle to highlight that most divisive and iconic of Scottish instruments in a way that shows the bagpipes’ versatility off to it’s fullest.
A piping-hot way to kick off the fest!