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News |  18 Nov 2015 18:58 |  By RnMTeam

Stiff Little Fingers perform in Paris five days after terror attacks

MUMBAI: On Friday the 13th, 2015, Paris witnessed a group of hate-mongering extremists participate in the country’s worst terrorist attack, crippling the nation to an extent where the French President ordered its first national emergency since World War II. The whole world stood by France in solidarity- a pianist trying to replace the atmosphere on streets that were covered with sounds of explosions and gunfire the night before, with John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’; while hundreds filled bullet holes with flowers the very next morning. “After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music”, said Aldous Huxley, and the ‘City of Love’ experienced an almost a similar outcome after the silence that followed the terror, thanks to a punk band from Northern Ireland.

Belfast punk band Stiff Little Fingers vowed they would perform in the city, after several acts decided to cancel their respective gigs amidst security concerns. On Wednesday night, the band stood to its promise and performed at the Back of the Mill in Paris, defying security concerns. Members of the four-piece band, formed in 1977, were in Dublin when the attacks unfolded, and believed the experience during ‘The Troubles’ helped them make their decision. Vocalist Jake Burns, who spoke to Belfast Telegraph before the performance, remembered how it felt to be overlooked by touring bands that began in the late 60s.

A “bit-more-nervous-than-usual” Burns emphasized on how things did not change for the band, with the members’ day in Paris was the “same as it always has been”. Addressing the crowd, Burns expressed, "Thank you so much for coming out. It's an absolute pleasure to be in Paris this evening. We're just going to play a normal show. It seems like the thing to do - I hope you agree. Everybody in the world knows what happened in Paris on Friday night. Everyone in the world has their hearts with you."

The show’s organisers, much to their credit, wanted the show to go ahead and after a confirmation from the band, the event was witnessed by Parisians and fans of S.L.F. with much-expected success and peace. On the stage, the band’s members wore black tape around their left arms, while guitarist McCallum wore a shirt emblazoned with the city’s name.

Among the bands to cancel their performances in the city were Foo Fighters, U2 and Deftones, and the gesture from Stiff Little Fingers echo a quote by English singer, Elton John- “Music has a healing power. It can take people out of themselves for few hours.”

Paris will return to its glory, its celebration of culture, music, freedom of expression. And Stiff Little Fingers may have played a very small, albeit important, role in its healing process.