By now we’re all familiar with what happened in Paris on Nov. 13: Three groups launched simultaneous attacks on three locations within the city, ruthlessly killing at least 129 people who were simply out enjoying a soccer game, concert or night on the town.
Almost immediately, social media filled with the image of the Eiffel Tower morphed into a peace symbol while people added a filter overlaying their profile pictures with the blue, white and red of France’s flag. The message #Porteouverte spread quickly from accounts within Paris, as businesses opened their doors for those fleeing from the attacks. Around the world, landmarks from the Sydney Opera House and the CN Tower to the Peace Bridge between the US and Canada and Wembley Stadium were illuminated in blue, white and red in solidarity.
Many writers noted how this is among the first, if not the first, attack that targeted a concert or music hall. From Bono, who was slated to play a live-to-air concert from Paris for HBO the night after the attacks, and newspaper columnists to other bands around the world, this point was reiterated: Music is a universal language and while the events of that night were horrific, music will endure. Paris will endure. Some bands—including Foo Fighters, Deftones, Simple Play, Coldplay and Prince, to name a few—decided to cancel or postpone their concerts in and around Paris for the time being, while others, like Justin Bieber, announced their intent to go about their business as usual.
Other bands, including Eagles of Death Metal, the Black Keys, Sum 41, Panic! At the Disco, Alice in Chains, Fall Out Boy and Billy Talent, grieved the loss of Nick Alexander, who served as merchandise manager for many American bands during European tours.
“It is with huge sorrow that we can confirm that our beloved Nick lost his life at the Bataclan last night,” his family confirmed in a statement early Saturday. He had been working during an Eagles of Death Metal show that night. “Nick was not just our brother, son and uncle; he was everyone’s best friend—generous, funny and fiercely loyal. Nick died doing the job he loved and we take great comfort in knowing how much was cherished by his friends around the world. Thank you for your thoughts and respect for our family at this difficult time. Peace and light.”
In a statement published by Rolling Stone and other outlets, Bono stressed that most of the victims of the attacks, regardless of whether they were at the Eagles of Death Metal show, were music fans.
“This is the first direct hit on music that we’ve had in this so-called war on terror, or whatever it’s called,” he wrote. “It’s very upsetting. These are our people. This could be me at a show, you at a show, in that venue. It’s a very recognizable situation for you and for me and the cold-blooded aspect of this slaughter is deeply disturbing and that’s what I can’t get out of my head.”
Updates will continue to be posted over at A Journal of Musical Things.
But perhaps among the most beautiful things to come from such an ugly, hateful event is this video of a conversation between a father and his young son near a memorial to the victims.