The Paris Terror Attacks: One Year Later
The terrorist violence that claimed the lives of dozens of onlookers during an Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan Theatre in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015 has prompted no small amount of reflection. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the attacks, we're only just beginning to gain perspective on the horrible event and its aftermath.
As the shock wore off in the days immediately following the attack, members of the musical community stepped forward to lend moral and financial support. U2, forced to postpone a Paris show scheduled for Nov. 14, made a pilgrimage to the venue — and later performed in honor of the victims when they returned to the city in December, with the Eagles of Death Metal joining them onstage the next day.
One of the slain, Eagles of Death Metal merchandise manager Nick Alexander, left bereaved friends in the industry — some of whom gathered to organize a benefit show in his honor featuring performances from a lineup that included Frank Turner and ex-Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes. That benefit was only the first of several put together for the victims and their families; some of the more notable fundraising efforts included a special live release from Metallica and donations from Eagles of Death Metal member Josh Homme's charity, the Sweet Stuff Foundation.
The band's Bataclan legacy grew unfortunately problematic in the months after the attack. Co-founder Jesse Hughes drew criticism for suggesting that the Bataclan's security detail might have been complicit in the violence, prompting reprisals from the club owners and costing the group slots on French festival bills. To his credit, Hughes quickly apologized, explaining he'd been dealing with "non-stop nightmares" and had been working through the stress of the attacks in therapy. A documentary called Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) will premiere on HBO in February 2017.
The Bataclan was understandably shuttered after the killings, but owners quickly vowed to reopen in 2016 — and they proved true to their word, lining up a new slate of shows to be kicked off by a benefit performance from Sting on Nov. 12.
The world obviously remains just as uncertain and politically unsettled as it was when innocent lives were claimed at the Bataclan, and the clashing ideologies that fueled the violence aren't likely to end their struggles anytime soon. But the musical efforts undertaken after the attacks — and the club's persistence — are cause for celebration, and the timing of the Bataclan's grand reopening was perhaps best described by the NME, who dubbed it "a 'screw you' to terrorism."
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