If you have your music library hooked up to a gig ticketing service, you'll no doubt have regular moments when a tour flashes up for a band you love but just assumed had called it a day ages ago. When it's truly surprising, it's often because that band is very closely associated with a particular time in music - perhaps because they had a monster hit that links them to a certain year, or were part of scene that summed up a generation.
These eight groups may seem of their time in our minds, but they're still very much around; they're super troupers that either split, then reformed - like Steps, who are back with a new record and tour - or never stopped believing. We salute them.
1. Musical Youth
Musical Youth's Pass the Dutchie from 1982 is a landmark British single that sold five million copies, went to No.1 here, Top 10 in the US and resulted in the Birmingham reggae band becoming the first black act to be played on MTV - months before even Michael Jackson. As we reported recently, their story became mired in difficulties and tragedy when the hits dried up a couple of years later, but two original members - singer Dennis Seaton and keyboardist Michael Grant - reformed Musical Youth in 2001 and the group's been ongoing since then. A new album, When Reggae Was King, is slated for release this year along with a full tour. They're also playing Rewind Scotland in July - an 80s festival with a host of other acts from the decade.
2. The Ordinary Boys
In 2007, Ordinary Boys singer Preston walked off Never Mind the Buzzcocks - a TV moment that became so iconic its 10-year anniversary in February was marked by a slew of pieces in the press. Preston later said he regretted "acting so weird", and for a while it looked like it may have killed his career. The Ordinary Boys split up in 2008, Preston's solo album, scheduled for 2009, was shelved, but he did have success writing and co-writing songs for other artists, including Olly Murs and Kylie Minogue. With some original members missing, The Ordinary Boys played again in 2011, officially reformed in 2013 and released an album in 2015. They're touring in May.
3. Counting Crows
Over to America now and a band best-known for the first single, Mr Jones, to be released from their debut album, August and Everything After, produced by T-Bone Burnett. Counting Crows' near-overnight success coincided with the death of Kurt Cobain, who died in April 1994 soon after Mr Jones was released, and also the rise of Britpop. Perhaps because of Britpop, they didn't become as big in the UK as they might have done, although they've released a string of good records since August and Everything After (another six studio albums) and remain a big touring band. They last played here in 2015 and are barely off the road in the US.
4. Shed Seven
And speaking of Britpop, there are plenty of bands that, rightly or wrongly, are associated with that cultural movement and still tour, including Shed Seven, who never achieved the high levels of fame that Oasis, Blur and Pulp managed, but nonetheless had an incredible run of 15 Top 40 singles and four Top 20 albums in the UK between 1995 and 1999 - all of their albums to date. The York band called it a day in 2003, reformed for a greatest hits tour in 2007, and just recently announced their first new album in 16 years, along with their "biggest UK tour ever" in December.
5. Village People
The American disco group put together by French songwriter/producer Jacques Morali after he supposedly put an ad in a trade magazine that read, 'Macho Types Wanted: Must Dance And Have A Moustache,' has proved to be extraordinarily resilient. And although you might imagine that members are easily replaceable in a group that spoofs masculine cultural stereotypes, both the Native American (Felipe Rose) and GI (Alex Briley) have been in Village People since they formed in 1977. The band took a hiatus between 1985 and 1987, haven't recorded any new music since then, but continually perform across the world, probably not staying in YMCAs.
Atlanta's TLC really have nothing left to prove - they dominated RnB and pop in the 90s with songs like Creep, Waterfalls and No Scrubs, leading to them becoming the most successful girl group in American music history (and second only to the Spice Girls globally). In 2002, the trio's Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes was killed in a car crash, resulting in Tionne 'T-Boz' Watkins and Rozonda 'Chilli' Thomas continuing as a duo. For over two years now, there's been talk of a fifth, crowd-funded TLC album (their first since 2002's 3D) being released and it's now promised for 2017. It'll be the last TLC album, but they intend to continue to perform.
7. Stereo MCs
Stereo MCs' very British fusion of hip hop and dance music proved to be a pioneering sound - paving the way for groups like The Prodigy and winning them a perhaps unlikely audience in the US, where 1992 single Connected went Top 20. The album Connected, which also contained Step It Up, is a classic of its time and won Best British Album at the 1994 Brit Awards. And if it seems like the London group faded after Connected, it's because they took nine years to release another album, 2001's Deep Down & Dirty. But they never quit and these days release music, and tracks by other artists, on their own label, naturally called Connected.
No one quite managed to find a phrase to sum up the scores of great bands that emerged in the UK and US in the 2000s. New rock revolution, post-punk revival, garage-rock revival were all tried, but perhaps the only one that endures is the cruelest - landfill indie, which was coined by music journalist Andrew Harrison. There was something about Razorlight frontman Johnny Borrell's white jeans that seemed to ordain him the king of landfill indie, but he wrote scores of great songs and the group had a No.1 in 2006 with America. Borrell's Definitive History of Landfill Indie in Seven Songs on Noisey [contains adult language] is a delight, and Razorlight will be playing their first gigs in two years this summer, although not with their original lineup.