It feels like it has been a bit of a year for music comebacks. Blur are back with a new album which, in places, sounds beautifully like Modern Life Is rubbish. The Bluetones are coming back around again later in the year. Most excitingly of all, Nineties champs, the mighty Collapsed Lung have a couple of dates in the book for the first time in 5 years or so - unmissable stuff.
On top of all that excitement, the rumours that were around when I was over there for Sonar are confirmed. That wonderful, memory-making Reykjavík venue NASA will be back in use for Iceland Airwaves 2015. It's been closed, and standing idle for several years now, waiting to become part of (yet) another downtown hotel. It will be exciting to step back inside, to see if it has changed (in February I was told it was basically untouched) and how it is used for Airwaves.
For now, here's what I wrote in January 2012 when the news was first circulating that it was to close down. I know I'm not the only one with a load of memories.
Please Don't Close Nasa
No, not the space people thingy - I couldn't care less about that. The great venue/club/jar of memories in Reykjavik. News emerged a few days ago of plans to take down the wonderful NASA venue and turn it into yet another hotel. If there's one thing Reykjavik has a hell of a lot of it's hotels, surely this is insanity? Actually, of course RVK has a good helping of music venues too but that doesn't mean that one of the best, most charming, most important and most full of memories should be allowed to bite the dust. It's important to me, it's important to a lot of musicians, fans, bar staff and it's surely pretty crucial to the continuation of Iceland Airwaves as we know it - there's not a venue like it. Some good news later in the week from the grapevine, it appears all may not be lost.
Of course it comes down to money - can it justify the rent that's asked of it? Can the city or the government do anything to help preserve it and smooth the route to survival. A hell of a lot of people would like that, it would be a fine and popular thing to support. Well over 1,000 people have already signed this petition (there's also link on the top left of this page) organised by the excellent John of the equally excellent Brainlove Records.
Please, please sign the petition.
In the meantime, and off the top of my head (so forgive omissions and hazy memories), some personal NASA highlights:
In 2004 instructed by the good folk of 12 Tonar, my first trip to NASA was to see Mugison's Airwaves show. Actually the first band I saw were the long gone Ske, but the advice to see Mugi was amongst the best I've ever received. Ever since I've enjoyed Mugison and trusted 12 Tonar.
I think 2006 was the year that the mighty Reykjavik! played a typically boisterous show there, the highlight of which was a three girl choreographed dance routine to "All Those Beautiful Boys" - hilarious and brilliant. We watched with (well beneath) Boas from the audience. You know what? I dug out the video...
2007 was an amazing festival. French band The Teenagers were so cool back then, their Airwaves NASA show was sleazy brilliance. The best kind! On the Saturday night we wandered into NASA off the street after something else finished to catch the second half of a sweaty, pumping, incredible set from Gus Gus swiftly followed by the usual amazingness of Ghostigital (right) - maybe my favourite Airwaves night of them all.
I remember 3 remarkable gigs from 2008 in NASA - the first time I ever saw Retro Stefson, they were so young, they filled the stage with balloons, they sounded great! Dr Spock, complete with rubber gloves, balaclava and a large dose of gob. And Faeroe Islanders Boys In A Band really rocked NASA but the best of the year, one of the most startling things I've ever seen, the choir of mountainous fishermen, Fjallabræður (right) - incredible sounds and then they hit the dancefloor.
The FM Belfast show in 2010 at NASA - the final show of the festival was immense. It was late, it was load, the stage was as crowded as any part of the cramped venue. They played forever, they played every song, everyone knew all the words and then, from somewhere, they played Sweet Child Of Mine and finally the whole place shouted every single word of Underwear right back in their faces.
Please don't close NASA.