One year ago a series of terrorist attacks took place in Paris, including a raid on iconic French music venue the Bataclan. There, during an Eagles Of Death Metal gig, 89 fans – florists, make-up artists, students, mothers, music industry employees among them – were murdered midway through the show, with a total of 130 people killed as further attacks across the city took place.
I was in a pub as the news broke. Every time my friends and I checked social media, the death toll rose. Information and misinformation leaked out and, a whole country away from the events, panic set in. Did we know anyone at the gig? Wasn’t a mate supposed to be in Paris that weekend? Later at home, in a state of shock, I streamed rolling news footage in a desperate attempt to comprehend the tragedy. I’d interviewed the band only a few months before and the hour of laughter and lewdness we shared discussing the ribald rock of EODM’s album ‘Zipper Down’ seemed to be almost perverse in contrast to the events that had unfolded that Friday night.
Twelve months ago the future of the Bataclan was in the balance. Shows set to take place there by Deftones and other artists were cancelled as police investigated the site, but this week it opens for the first time since the attack, with performances from Sting, Pete Doherty, Youssou N’Dour and the Paris-dwelling Marianne Faithful. The reopening is a defiant move, one that pitches the will of the French people far above the actions of the gunmen. The Bataclan hasn’t just reopened to provide the people with a place to enjoy live music, but to state that they won’t be living in fear.
This week also sees the Peaceful Noise charity gig at London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire on November 15. With sets from Frank Turner, Maximo Park and Gaz Coombes, it’ll mark the anniversary of the attacks and raise money for EODM member Josh Homme’s Sweet Stuff Foundation and the Memorial Trust for Nick Alexander, the British merchandising manager killed in the Bataclan.
Of course, nothing will bring back those who died on November 13, 2015, but by coming together to remember them, British music fans and artists alike can show solidarity with the victims and their families and never let what happened be forgotten.