US rock band Eagles of Death Metal were halfway through their set when Islamist militants bombarded the Bataclan concert hall in Paris with gunfire, gunning down revelers, frontman Jesse Hughes told a crowd on Tuesday. French court.
Guitar tech Eden Galindo’s first thought had been that the PA system was exploding, but Hughes said he instantly knew the room was under attack.
“Being from a desert community in California, I know the sound of gunfire,” Hughes told the trial of Salah Abdeslam, the alleged sole survivor of the squad that killed 130 people in multiple locations on November 13. 2015.
“I knew death was coming,” he said.
The assailants burst through the main entrance to the music hall and fired automatic gunfire into the crowd as the band played.
“We thought it was going to stop, but it just kept happening,” Galindo told the court. “After a while they reloaded and a technician told us ‘next time they stop, we run'”.
The band escaped through a side door but their tour manager was killed.
90 dead linked to the attack on a concert hall
The attackers took hostages inside the music hall in an hour-long assault that left 90 dead and ended after police shot dead one activist and the other two blew up their suicide vests.
Survivors said they played dead for hours or hid in closets, not knowing if their friends or loved ones were still alive. They talked about the bullets in their bodies and having to walk over bodies when they finally escaped.
Abdeslam, 32, is the only one of the 20 defendants directly charged with murder, attempted murder and hostage taking. He has denied the charges and is on trial before a panel of judges.
He told the court in February that he had given up detonating his explosive vest in the attack.
Six years later, Hughes said he was still nervous watching in crowds, but found his courage in France’s ability to move on.
“Evil did not win,” he said. “You can’t kill rock and roll.”