PressPlay >>Rewind 005: Paris

This week’s edition of the >>Rewind is sombre and shorter. On Friday night and into Saturday morning, three teams of jihadist terrorists carried out vicious attacks on innocent civilians in Paris. The bloodiest instance of the series of attacks took place at famed concert hall, Le Bataclan, where Eagles Of Death Metal were on stage at the time of the siege. Dozens were murdered in cold blood and the first-person accounts are terrifying. We have chosen to share some of those accounts with limited detail, so you can make the choice for yourself whether your perspective benefits from reading them.

There’s no doubting that atrocities happen daily around the world — a dual suicide bombing the day prior in Beirut has gone largely overshadowed in the media coverage following the Paris siege. What makes this impactful to us is its visibility and its relation to live music and members of our industry. I’m here writing for PressPlay and working in the music industry because of the specific solace and feelings of safety that live music has always brought me, and the same goes for many of my colleagues.

The thought that such a safe space would be deliberately targeted in such a visible and abhorrently brutal manner is unconscionable. Music, and the community aspect that comes with its live performance, is one of the most sacred things we have in our lives, a source of many of our greatest memories. As long as there are people with good in their will and pulses in their hearts, we will have music, and with it, community. No matter how many times it is encroached upon or faced with undue intimidation, it can never and will never be taken from us.

There’s a lot of other news that happened this week, and it does matter — but not as much as taking a moment to reflect on the safe space music provides us. >>Rewind is about being a better informed music fan and turning that knowledge into perspective that betters our community the world over. With that, we reflect on what happened, what music fans like you and I went through first-hand, and pay tribute to those who aren’t with us today.

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>>Members of Music Industry Among Paris Victims: Greg Cwik at Vulture recounts the victims who were just doing another night’s work. Among them, Nick Alexander (Merch Manager for Eagles Of Death Metal), Guillame B. Decherf (Music Journalist for Les Inrocks, father of two), and Thomas Ayad (International Product Manager for Mercury Records). Pascal Nègre, President of Universal Music France, also confirmed the deaths of two more Universal employees. Learn about them:

>>>Nick Alexander’s family confirms his passing in a touching statement to Rolling Stone’s Daniel Kreps: “Nick was not just our brother, son, and uncle; he was everyone’s best friend – generous, funny, and fiercely loyal.” 

>Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, who himself worked with Alexander: “I spent a lot of time with Nick, but the thing about the touring merch job, it’s one of the more thankless jobs … you do it because you want to travel and you’re interested in meeting new people and it’s really hard work … I remember him always being very content with being on tour. It was what seems to make him the happiest … He was just a sweetheart, that guy.”

>GoFundMe for Nick Alexander’s Family —

>Decherf’s coverage of EODM’s Zipper Down album (in French) —

>>Who Were The Victims?: The BBC has had superb running coverage paying honest tribute to victims identified in the wake of the massacres. Blurbs about Alexander and Decherf are included, along with words on many of the other innocents at Le Bataclan and elsewhere. —

>>First-Hand Accounts of Scene at Le Bataclan [Graphic]: Witnesses recount the horrific scene. We pray that no human ever has a night out end like this. The first-hand accounts are important insofar as understanding exactly what people witnessed and went through inside the venue, but be warned that the recounted details are graphic in nature. We share them as it shows the reality of the situation, and the resolve of survivors and Parisiens bonding together in an hour of need.

>An anonymous account from the mosh pit, via Reddit (translated from French): “The heaviest silence in the hall was punctuated with gunfire. Not in time, with no logic, nothing. Just, gunfire now and again. And we asked ourselves if the next bullet was for us … Feeling people getting up to suddenly get shot down. And again. And again….”

>Isobel Bowdery, who was at the show, shares her account via public Facebook post: “It wasn’t just a terrorist attack, it was a massacre. Dozens of people were shot right infront (sic) of me. Pools of blood filled the floor. Cries of grown men who held their girlfriends dead bodies pierced the small music venue. Futures demolished, families heartbroken. In an instant.” —

>>We end this week without a winner, but some images and videos of hope. Gesaffelstein, performing at 1015 Folsom in San Francisco the night of the attack, began and ended his performance with a moving tribute to his homeland. In a message to the audience before dropping his signature, “Pursuit,” Gesaffelstein (real name Mike Levy) said the most important words we’ve heard from anyone in the wake of this tragedy. Notable from a presence who almost never breaks his trademark brand of stoicism, and from a gentleman notably nervous about speaking English in public.

“Listen to me. Just for tonight, forget your iPhone. Just enjoy music. Love. Everyone are French tonight. Let’s share love … We don’t care, we all celebrate love. They’re not gonna win. We’re gonna win tonight.”

Levy ended the night with a moment of silence, to the support of the crowd, who concluded in chant: “Vive Le France.”

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image sources: @vintagechiquevinylfreak on Tumblr; @theholymountain on Instagram

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