BEST OF 2015: Tim Livingston’s Cool Rock Event That You Probably Never Heard About, No. 2

By Tim Livingston

Out on tour with Stiff Little Fingers, bandleader Jake Burns – like everyone else in the world – heard the news about last month’s ungodly terrorist attacks in Paris. What didn’t cross his mind at that time, though, was that their own Paris show was just two nights away. Once he realized it, the decision was made to play the show anyway, while other major bands were canceling not only shows in France, but all over Europe.

Irish punk pioneers Stiff Little Fingers, who rose to prominence during the late ’70s, have weathered a multitude of terrorist threats during their experience with the “Troubles” in their native Belfast, so they decided to play their Paris show as scheduled. In doing so, they became the first major band to play Paris after the attacks.

Adorned in black-tape armbands the band took the stage, and Jake spoke to the crowd at O’Sullivans Backstage by the Mill saying, “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.” At the end of the show he said, “Obviously everybody in the world knows what happened in Paris on Friday night. And everyone in the world has their hearts with you.”

That was all that was said about the attacks as the band put on with their, “normal,” high-energy, full-throttle show. By all accounts the only thing different about it was that the band was having trouble hearing themselves onstage as the crowd continued to loudly chant “THANK YOU, THANK YOU…” throughout the evening, a sentiment that still sends chills up my spine.

Vive Freedom! Vive SLF!

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