On Saturday morning, I turned on my computer expecting to read about developments on the heavily rumoured reunion of Guns N' Roses. Instead, I was met with horrific images of the terrorist attacks in locations across Paris that have claimed the lives of over 120 people. Following last Thursday's brutal twin suicide bombing in Beirut that killed almost 50, it was the second deadly attack to have been credited to IS this past week.
What I found personally affecting was that the worst of the Paris attacks had taken place during an Eagles Of Death Metal gig at Le Bataclan. I'm a music journalist and aspiring musician, as well as a lifelong rock fan. Consequently, I spend a lot of my time reviewing, playing or appreciating live music. To see the site of my work and recreation attacked in such a way and to hear that over 80 people lost their lives was incredibly upsetting. As was the news that writer Guillaume B. Decherf of Les Inrocks (like myself, a father to two daughters) was killed while doing what I also do for a living.
In the wake of Friday's atrocities, it is being reported that many bands have cancelled their upcoming shows in Paris. Some have also cancelled the remaining dates of their European tours. Given current security concerns, this is understandable. But it is my hope that, when the time is right, those artists will return to Europe and return to France. I hope that bands and audiences will once again meet at Le Bataclan and heal some of the wounds that these tragedies have opened.
If live music is silenced, then the men who perpetrated these crimes have won. Their intention was to inspire fear for people to go about their daily lives. So we must show them that we are not afraid. As musicians, we should respond by doing what we do best: playing music to an audience. Playing it loud and from the heart. If we are to honour those who lost their lives in Paris, those who have died in terror attacks around the world, our snare shots need to be louder than gunshots. Our guitars need to drown out the sound of exploding bombs and our voices need to be strong and proud.
In the coming days, many moments of silence will be held for last week's victims. But it is important, in the weeks and months that follow, that there are also moments of volume. As long as we are amplified, we are not terrorized.