Behind the Hardcore

Local rockers American Hardcore have been through an almost soap opera-like couple of years. If nothing else, the band has a riveting first 15 minutes of their Behind The Music special someday. Form

Local rockers American Hardcore have been through an almost soap opera-like couple of years. If nothing else, the band has a riveting first 15 minutes of their Behind The Music special someday. Formed in 2004, the band — full of more swagger than a Guns N' Roses tribute act on a rocky cruise ship — released its self-titled debut in 2005. The record received some positive reviews and, most importantly, along with a great live show reputation, helped them start building a dedicated fan base. The album was strutting, fuck-and-party Rock & Roll built for late-night cruises up and down the Sunset Strip while looking for action and trouble.

After that promising start, AH switched gears and released the impressive sophomore CD, No Apologies. If the new album sounded like a totally different band, that's because, at least in part, it was. The band lost its exciting frontman Dean Alexander to Hollywood, where he joined the group Blacklist Union on bass. New singer Brad Vance was brought in, which changed the group's sound somewhat, giving them a more current, sort of Metal tinge. They'd also enlisted a new drummer, J. Sims.

No Apologies helped the group earn the Cincinnati Entertainment Award for best Hard Rock/Metal act in the area. But that didn't mean the group members were ready to rest on their laurels. Again, they decided to shake things up.

Earlier this year, American Hardcore announced that Alexander was returning from California to front the band again. Not long after, they also added Chris Cox as their new drummer.

After their topsy-turvy year, American Hardcore is ready to return to the club scene this week and recapture some momentum. Friday, the band plays its first show with Cox (and first show with Alexander since his return) at the Poison Room. The show offers other reasons to celebrate — it's also a birthday show for the club's owner Tony Dotson and, since it's Friday the 13th, one of the actors who portrayed "Jason" in the Friday the 13th movies will be on hand singing autographs (think that guys signs a lot of hockey masks?). The show also features the bands Rumble Club, Pulse8 and Miranda Sound.

If it's 20 minutes into American Hardcore's Behind the Music, you're going to want to keep an eye on 'em — that's usually when things start getting really good. (

Rumors, Lies and General Misunderstandings
· Although the Cincinnati Zoo doesn't have concerts as much as they once did (anyone remember the amazing Jayhawks/Wilco show back in the '90s?), the world-renowned animal refuge and botanical garden is an idyllic setting for a musical experience. Back for its second year is the Zoo's "Tunes & Blooms" series and this year's lineup is an impressive collection of some of Cincinnati's best musical acts. The event kicks off this Thursday at 6 p.m., as Power Pop legends psychodots (gearing up for the return of The Bears on the heels of their stunning, slightly more experimental new album, Eureka!) join Gypsy jazzers Faux Frenchmen for an acoustic showcase. Next week, on April 19, it's an Americana music bonanza, as Jake Speed and the Freddies team up with The Comet Bluegrass Allstars for another 6 p.m. performance. Finally, the Tunes & Blooms series ends with a bang — a gorgeous, organic, somewhat ethereal bang — with a 6 p.m. show featuring The Hiders and Kim Taylor. The concerts — which coincide with the Zoo's "Tulip Mania" display — are free after 5 p.m. (excluding parking). (

· Some musical groups take a break for personal reasons (cough drug rehab cough cough) or family reasons (ahem, wife left you, ahem), but tabla player Jim Feist has a much better excuse for not being in Cincinnati and playing with his World music troupe Mohenjo Daro. For the past six months, Feist has been in India, where he has been studying music. This Saturday, Feist returns to Mohenjo Daro for a performance with Middle-Eastern music and dance ensemble, Gaiananda. The show takes place at 8 p.m. at the Center for World Rhythms and Movement on Vine Street in St. Bernard. Tickets are $15. (

· Local Fruit Pop icons Culture Queer are opening Thursday's Man Man show at the Southgate House. Also on the opening docket is a new, yet-unnamed crew with some familiar faces. Guitarist Austin Brown and bassist John Curley of Staggering Statistics have been playing instrumental songs with drummer Michael Horrigan, Curley's old rhythm-section partner in The Afghan Whigs. That band (let's call 'em the JoMiAust Trio, for now) starts Thursday's show off at 9 p.m.