Red Hot Chilli Pipers review The Queen's Hall (Venue 72) ​ Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016 Friday 26th August


Red Hot Chilli Pipers at The Queen's Hall (Venue 72) was simply a great evening out with an incredibly tight band giving their audience exactly what they wanted – a good time, good humour, a friendly atmosphere, and most of all that infectious blend of traditional Scottish music meeting modern rock and pop head on in what could on paper be a “train wreck” but in reality works unbelievably well.  So well in fact, that since they were first formed in 2002, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers have become a global sensation playing over 200 live shows every year.

The band are a large ensemble on stage consisting of keyboards, guitars, a great brass section, drummers/percussionists including Grant Cassidy (world champion snare drummer), dancers and of course pipers -  tonight Willie Armstrong, Gordon (Dougie) McCance, Kevin MacDonald.

I have to admit that this is my first visit to a Red Hot Chilli Pipers show, but the Queen’s Hall was full of loyal fans tonight and the warmth and friendship between them and the band was obvious, and partly what made a great show.

If you have not yet seen the band, then it is hard to describe the sheer energy levels that the band not only bring to the show, but somehow keep up all night.  This band work very hard at what they do, and that pays off in audience appreciation. 

Musically, the band is a mixture of classic rock and contemporary music fused in with traditional sounds plus their own material.  Imagine “Smoke on The Water” becoming “Smoke on The Bagpipes”, and “We Will Rock You”  “Don’t Stop Believing”, and “Chasing Cars” given their trademark “bagrock” treatment and you get some idea of their unique sound if you have not heard it before.  That sound by the way is loud and in a space like The Queen’s Hall that has great natural acoustics you can not only hear that sound but feel it.

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers also have their new live DVD out plus their new album “Octane” and a few new songs from that were played in this set – including “Starlight” and “Pressed For Time”.

We need a band like the Red Hot Chilli Pipers to be constantly breathing new life into Scottish music and not only keeping the old traditional sounds alive, but creating something new for modern audiences and proving that you don’t have to lose the past to find the future.

If you want to find out more about the band visit their website at


Review by Tom King

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