Northern Ireland

Paris attacks: Stiff Little Fingers to go ahead with gig

Stiff Little Fingers Image copyright Stiff Little Fingers
Image caption Stiff Little Fingers will go ahead with Paris gig after Friday night's terrorist attack.

Belfast punk band Stiff Little Fingers will go ahead with their Paris gig despite Friday's terrorist attacks, in which 129 people were killed.

Eighty-nine of those killed were attending a rock concert at the Bataclan Theatre.

Stiff Little Fingers are due to play in Paris on Tuesday night.

The band came to prominence during Belfast's punk movement in the 1970s, which was the height of the Northern Ireland Troubles.

Band leader Jake Burns said their experience of musicians avoiding Belfast because of the Troubles made them more determined to take to the stage in Paris.

He said: "Having grown up in Northern Ireland in the 70s, I remember bands not coming to play because of the conflict.

"As a youngster, it was frustrating to be deprived of such a normal part of life.

"For us as a band, our performances were sometimes delayed because of disturbances and road blocks, nothing serious. But we do have an appreciation of just how difficult these situations can be.

Image copyright Stiff Little Fingers
Image caption Stiff Little Fingers came to prominence during Belfast's punk movement in the Seventies.

"Obviously, in Northern Ireland, conflict became very much the normal state of affairs. Here, it isn't.

"It's a huge shock to the system for people here. Unfortunately, we can't do a lot to help, we're just here to do our job."

Stiff Little Fingers have played in Paris on numerous occasions in the past.

"We've always enjoyed playing here, and as tragic as this situation obviously is, I think the quicker people can get back to normal life, the better."

The band kept in touch with their French promoter over the weekend, when there was a nation-wide ban on large public gatherings.

Once the ban was lifted, they saw no reason to cancel their show.

"As long as the promoter was willing to go ahead, we didn't see any reason why we shouldn't play," said Jake.

The BBC understands that extra security will be provided at the Backstage at the Mill venue, where the concert is being staged.

The band Eagles of Death Metal, which was playing at the Bataclan Theatre at time of the attacks, have cancelled their European dates.

One of the merchandise sellers with Eagles of Death Metal, Nick Alexander from Colchester, was killed as suicide bombers armed with guns stormed the music venue.

Image caption Eighty-nine of those killed in the Paris attacks were attending at a rock concert in the Bataclan Theatre.

At least three employees of Universal Music France were also among the dead.

The band had been due to play 21 more concerts across Europe in the run-up to Christmas after their appearance at the Bataclan Theatre.

But they're cutting short a tour that had been due to run until 10 December in Portugal.

The American band Foo Fighters has called off the remaining dates of their European tour, while U2 cancelled their Paris show, which was due to take place on Saturday.

The Irish band spent the evening laying flowers near the Bataclan theatre.

Jake said he understood the decisions of both bands.

"In fairness to the Foo Fighters, they are incredibly close friends with the Eagles of Death Metal so that must have affected them badly. And with regard to U2, there was a nation-wide ban so they didn't have much choice."

He said he has had no indication of whether or not their fans are likely to avoid their gig in light of the security threat.

"I really have no idea of what to expect with regards to audience.

"Obviously, we hope people will come out, but equally you couldn't blame people for being a bit nervous, so we just have to play it by ear.

"We were driving in last night and the city was much quieter than normal, but it wasn't a ghost town. I didn't see evidence of heightened security."

Expressing condolences for the families of the victims, he said: "It's such a tragedy. I can't even begin to imagine how horrific it must have been for those involved.

"For us, we're musicians, we've just come to do what we do. Hopefully the people who come tonight can manage to forget about their troubles for an hour and a half.

"That would be our job done as we see it."

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