Preview: This week's gig guide

Simon ParkinHaving swapped albums for singles, Northern Irish rockers Ash have found even greater success, and return to play the Waterfront. Elsewhere Reef return after reforming, Danish pop outfit Alphabeat visit and One Republic are at the UEA.Simon Parkin


UEA, April 18

For many they were as much a part of the 1990s music scene as the Brit-pop rivalry between Blur and Oasis. Now, seven years after they last performed together and with biggest hit Place Your Hands still a firm fixture on every student-night DJ's set list, Reef are back for six nostalgia-laden gigs. And with festival dates this summer being tagged onto the tour this could be one of the few chances to see them in Norwich.

The group split in 2003 after five albums, countless live shows and a decade living in each other's pockets. Lead singer Gary Stringer, who helped form the original line-up, including Jack Bessant, Kenwyn House and Dominic Greensmith, says: 'We had a right old laugh - we were a gang, really quite tight - but the last nine months it started to get a little bit like work and it was time to take a rest.'

So what can we expect? 'We're not going to do a really obscure jam for an hour and a half. We will play all the hits.' And what about the reunion becoming permanent? 'I would never say never.'

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Waterfront, April 18

Getting their start at the age of 16 in small-town Denmark, Alphabeat, are the pop sensation of five guys and one girl who released their self-titled debut album - which reached No 2 in the charts - in 2008. Their singles Fascination and 10,000 Nights Of Thunder were also huge hits.

Here they follow up their a support slot with Lady Gaga - which hit the headlines which they supposedly fell out with the pop diva - with their own tour to tie-in with the release of their recently released new album, The Beat Is...

The band is made up of six members, Anders SG, Stine Bramsen, Anders B., Rasmus Nagel, Anders Reinholdt and Troels Hansen. Their sound is mainly retro 80s melodic pop, which despite its electro-basis but takes inspiration from British bands Deacon Blue and Prefab Sprout with distinctive overlay of male and female harmonies.

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UEA, April 19

Ryan Tedder and OneRepublic follow up their recent packed-to-the-rafters London date with this Norwich visit, part of a full UK tour to coincide with new single Secrets.

The track, a rock ballad, layered with strings and anthemic guitars, is from their album, Waking Up. No doubt they'll be hoping it emulates their 2007 hit Apologize which went to No. 1 in 16 countries. The quintet's platinum-selling debut album Dreaming Out Loud was a pure heart-on-your-sleeve confessional, written mostly by Tedder before his massive song writing successes outside of the band, credits include Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Leona Lewis and Kelly Clarkson.

Waking Up explores similar terrain as the last album only with even more strings and movie-like moments, thanks in part to the use of the same children's choir and orchestra used by Batman and Edward Scissorhands composer Danny Elfman. Sadly we fear the choir and orchestra will be lacking at the UEA, but the killer hooks will remain.

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Waterfront, April 21

When Ash announced in 2007 they would never release another album, rumours were rife that the Northern Irish rockers were on the verge of splitting. Yet 14 back-to-back singles and a gruelling tour schedule later, those predictions could not have been more wrong.

Drummer Rick McMurray says the band's unusual take on music production, made three years ago following some frustration with their record company, has brought them closer to their fans than ever before. 'The whole concept of the album didn't seem that valid to us anymore,' he said.

Instead the band has released a steady stream of singles, called the A-Z series, since October while touring regularly without the need to worry about promoting an album. No longer does each tour revolve around an album, the band instead has a constant stream of new songs to mix into an ever-growing set list.

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t April 16

Hollow Earth + more (local/charity) - UEA

Albert Lee & Hogan's Heroes (contry/rock) - Arts Centre

Mollyhawk (Irish) - Cider Shed

The Rock Doctors (rock) - Brickmakers

Washed Up (punk) - B2

Pain Penitentiary (metal) - Marquee

Tattooed Lies (rock) - King Edward VII

The Planks (soul) - Blueberry

Liza Wolfe (pop/soul) - Bedfords

Flying South (rock/blues) - The Nelson

Honeydripper (R&B) - Black Horse

t April 17

Tin Man (indie) - Arts Centre

To The Last (rock) - King Edward VII

The Trolley Men (rock/pop) - B2

Rawkus (rock) - Brickmakers

Counterfeit (rock/indie) - Blueberry

Flying South (rock/blues) - The Stanley

Freeload (rock/pop) - Boundary

Lou & The Diamonds (60s) - Arkwrights

t April 18

Reef (rock) - UEA

Alphabeat (pop) - Waterfront

Joshua Radin (country/rock) - Arts Centre

Keno Kings (blues/4pm) - King Edward VII

Lee Vasey & Friends (rock/blues/8pm) - King Edward VII

Lander Mason (folk/jazz) - Cider Shed

Dancing Lotus (hip hop/soul) - B2

Lee Vasey Big Band (12pm) - Brickmakers

t April 19

One Republic (rock/pop) - UEA

Good Shoes (indie) - Arts Centre

Live Lounge (local) - The Langtry

Sessions: feat. The Kurve + more (local) - Brickmakers

t April 20

Chew Lips (indie/electro) - Arts Centre

San (rock/indie) - Brickmakers

Cutback (rock) - B2

t April 21

Ash (rock) - Waterfront

Shy Child (indie/electro) - Arts Centre

Abandon All Hope: feat. Kenai + more (pop-punk) - B2

Pure Acoustic (open mic) - Brickmakers

The Session (Irish) - Cider Shed

t April 22

Breabach (folk) - Arts Centre

From The Jam (tribute) - Waterfront

Cardiem (blues) - Marquee

Third Man (rock) - Brickmakers

Fourplay (rock/blues) - Blueberry

Monk Inc (jazz) - Rose Tavern