The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

Red Hot Chilli Pipers spice up Doudna

Alexis Moore-Jones
From left, bagpipers Ross Miller and Willie Armstrong play together during the Red Hot Chilli Pipers performance held in the Dvorak Concert Hall Saturday.

Starting off with a bang and ending with an encore that brought the whole concert hall to its feet, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers left scorch marks on the minds of all who attended their performance Saturday.  

Caiden Webb and Logan Brinkman went out to the concert to celebrate their friend Becky Lawson’s birthday, leaving the group with memories they said will last a lifetime. 

“I already have an interest in more niche instruments, so to see a concert that’s centered around instruments such as a bagpipe, it really is exciting,” Brinkman said. 

Webb was happy about the fact that a group like the Red Hot Chilli Pipers came to a small town like Charleston. 

“I think anything the press can do to encourage EIU to continue bringing groups like this, especially different types of cultures, in for people in east central Illinois to see is a really, really big deal,” said Webb. “There are a lot of folks who just have no idea what exists outside of here, and to have people come in, that’s really amazing.” 

Lawson was overjoyed to find out the Pipers were coming to Charleston because it saved her a six-hour drive to Indiana to see them. 

“I found out they were gonna be here, and I’m like, ‘Heck yeah. Go EIU,’” said Lawson. 

The Red Hot Chilli Pipers dancers and lead singer Chris Judge dance together during the performance held in the Dvorak Concert Hall Saturday. (Alexis Moore-Jones)

A thick fog set the scene for audience members as they made their way to their seats. One after another, people filed into the Dvorak Concert Hall. 

As the room began to fill up and the lights began to dim, a bright red light shot out from the stage introducing the performers for the night. 

To end the 15-year anniversary celebration at the Doudna Fine Art Center, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers were able to take the stage with their unique sound known as bagrock. They invented the style by fusing pop, rock and traditional Scottish music. 

The electrifying, spicy concert consisted of a tap-dancing ensemble by the twin Red Hot Chilli dancers, powerful yet angelic vocals provided by lead singer Chris Judge and musical assistance from the drummer, pianist and two guitarists.  

The band was spearheaded by the main attraction: the three bagpipers Andrew Brodlie, Ross Miller and the oldest member of the band Willie Armstrong. 

Performing hits like “Take on Me” by A-ha, “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder and “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon, the Pipers took the night by storm and turned Saturday night into party night. 

Crowd interaction, stage presence and impromptu dance breaks resulted in audience members getting up and dancing in the aisle of the concert hall. 

The infectious energy kept the audience entertained as the Pipers showed off their versatile artistry. 

Getting their start in Scotland in 2002, The Pipers have made a name for themselves as “the most famous bagpipe band on the planet,” according to the band’s website. 

Also according to their website, a list of their most notable fans consists of Ewan McGregor, Paul McCartney, Alex Ferguson, Gary Player, the Scottish rugby team and Samuel L. Jackson. 

Having sold out tours in China, India, Ukraine, Barbados and America, the Pipers have shared their unique style of music with newcomers and fans alike all around the world. 

Amplifying their craft over the years by performing at events such as the Olympics, the 2015 Rugby World Cup or BBC Proms, the Red Hot Chilli Pipers have become an unstoppable force of creativity showcasing an uncommon talent in America. 

The director of programming, publicity and promotion at Doudna, Dennis Malak, helped bring the Red Hot Chilli Peppers to Charleston. 

“A patron actually recommended me to look into them, so I did,” Malak said. “I thought that would be just a really fun, unique way to end the season.” 


Alexis Moore-Jones can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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Alexis Moore-Jones
Alexis Moore-Jones, Feature Reporter
Alexis Moore-Jones is a senior broadcast journalism major. This is her first year at The News.

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