Author: Ashleigh Castro

Ashleigh is a young, stealthy photographer who grew up on a healthy dose of punk, funk, hip-hop and rock n roll. Shooting musicians since 14, she developed an eye for capturing passionate moments. The first concert she remembers was No Doubt, Cake and the Vandals at Arco Arena in 1997 and most memorable concert was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s acoustic set at Great American Music Hall in 2008. Her personal projects chronicle bay-area bands including the Coup, who published her work on their single cover. After graduating SFSU, she’s spent much time working at a San Francisco photo lab and now works as the content, office and photography manager for DOPE Magazine's Northern California Region. Her analog taste creates photographs that emphasize timeless emotion. Find her in the pit!

In the fourth of our series presenting photography from SF Sonic photographers, here is a slideshow of photos from Ashleigh Castro. Ashleigh has been contributing to SF Sonic and its predecessor for many years. Here’s a gallery with some of Ashleigh’s favorite concert photos:

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The Emerald Cup Featuring Santigold, Steel Pulse, The Expendables, Con Brio, Flatbush Zombies, Chali 2NA, and a whole lotta weed Sonoma County Fairgrounds December 14-15, 2019 Photos by Ashleigh Castro “Weed is the Umami of Life,” said comedian Ngaio Bealum as he hosted the performances at the Emerald Cup mid-December. He’s onto something… add weed to entertainment, or food, and it only gets better, right? Add weed to music and lots of positivity can come! Cannabis effects could amplify the layers of sound within songs. Users can have an inquisitive, lightly psychedelic, journey through sound arts while listening to or…

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Santigold Masonic Theater May 18, 2019 Photos by Ashleigh Castro Concluding the 10 Years Golder tour at the Masonic Theater in San Francisco, Santigold shined bright as she performed in celebration of her self-titled album having reached its decade anniversary. San Francisco is her favorite city tour stop by far. “I’m not one of those artists who goes to each city to say that shit,” said Santigold.  “This is my favorite place to play hands down, ‘cause you guys give it back! I’m looking out at you guys and you’re all singing with me.” Her dancers double as backing vocalists.…

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Princess Nokia UC Theatre March 2, 2019 Photos by Ashleigh Castro As soon as the backup dancers for Princess Nokia hit the stage, whistles chimed throughout the auditorium. Soon after, Destiny Frasqueri, the Princess Nokia, ran toward front center stage with a huge grin, biting her tongue with comedic delight. She then blurted, “Who dat is ho?!,” and the audience bounced in a hyphy fashion, making the house quake. Everyone sang, excited – catching their breath and snapping back, “That girl is tomboy! That girl is tomboy!” Destiny is a tomboy indeed, though the glamorous life of touring the world…

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The Distillers Fox Theatre, Oakland Sept 14, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. Lights turned down in the theatre as a symphony of horns and the voice of Edith Piaf filled the room. Edith sang, “No! No regrets No! I will have no regrets All the things That went wrong For at last I have learned to be strong No! No regrets No! I will have no regrets For the grief doesn’t last It is gone I’ve forgotten the past” – Edith Piaf “No Regrets” The Distillers made their way to the stage as the crowd went wild. The band wasted…

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Go Betty Go Bottom of the Hill April 13, 2018 Photos by Ashleigh Castro. Go Betty Go celebrated at Bottom of the Hill having performed together for eighteen years with openers Year of the Fist (Oakland) and Glam Skanks (Los Angeles). Nicolette Vilar picked up the microphone with a huge grin. Sheer joy being on stage performing as Go Betty Go shines from the singer’s face. Joined by her sister Aixa Vilar (drums) and longtime friends Betty Cisneros (guitar) and Michelle Rangel (bass), Go Betty Go started the show with “Runaway” from their full length 2005 album Nothing Is More;l…

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Pjay Castro co-wrote this article.  All photos by Ashleigh Castro.  Legendary Turntable Queen DJ Pam the Funkstress passed away Friday, December 22, 2017 due to organ failure. Pam the Funkstress was known for revolutionary work with Oakland hip hop collective The Coup and duo Conscious Daughters. Inventor of the Titty Scratch… Missy Elliot, hope you are reading. She’s had people dancing from outside the club, watching through the window. Pam Warren’s talent served fierce flavor from turntable to the kitchen table. Two years ago, she was working at her family restaurant, Piccadilly Catering, when she received a call. She had…

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Too Short Fox Theater, Oakland May 19, 2017 All photos by Ashleigh Castro. Easy for Too Short (or Too $hort) to say, as one of the originators of “West Coast Hip Hop,” he’s always been a local favorite. Born in Los Angeles but a family move to East Oakland when he was a teen placed him at the center of an oncoming rap onslaught, leading to collaboration with Tupac, The Notorious B.I.G., and many others. Over fifty years old now having just celebrated his birthday, Too Short shows no signs of slowing down. The Fox was ready to hear from…

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All photos by Ashleigh Castro. For those into heady beats and woke lyrics, GiGio’s Eye Am Not My Name is a steady set of inventive songs that inspire awareness and living on higher plane (you know, above the false reality in which we are indoctrinated to…); basically, GiGio is a Jedi sharing tales of being awake when others are asleep. He sets the scene in the Bay Area – a local heroes journey, a man on a mission to free minds. He underscores that even our name was not our choice. Released at his November tenth album launch show, GiGio…

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Smoke ’em Out Coco Rosie CocoRosie Records Photos by Ashleigh Castro. CocoRosie are a group of sisters, Bianca “CoCo” and Sierra “Rosie” Casady, who grew up traveling throughout the United States. In 2003 they formed CocoRosie, combining their darling nick names given to them by their mother. Sierra studied opera in France while Bianca was focused on sociology, art and writing. They reunited in 2003 when Bianca joined Sierra in Paris, spending a summer recording their debut album in the bathroom. Now they have released their new song “Smoke ‘Em Out” feat ANOHNI, in response to political shifts and offering…

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Fishbone The Mystic Theater, Petaluma November 5, 2016 All photos by Pollen Heath. Marching into Petaluma’s Mystic Theatre in full-on Fishbone soldier garb, Angelo Moore wore a commander’s uniform as his 51st birthday suit the night of November 5th. Listeners, or the “familyhood,” gathered in the classic auditorium for a memorable show. Just days before a grim election, listeners were taken on a chaotic journey through the harsh realities of racism and consumerism from the perspective of Chim Chim’s Badass Revenge, Fishbone’s 1996 concept album that was created to exorcise the bands demons. Fishbone decided to go on a tour…

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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Death From Above 1979 The Masonic  October 22, 2016 All photos by Cedric Letsch. Following a long inhale submersed in darkness, in a haze, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club exhaled, slowly playing. A California license plate inscribed “BRMC333” sat on the amps. Treating the audience like a pack, the trio led listeners into a mellow windy intro before proceeding to the soaring guitar riffs and rattling vocals of a new song titled “Bandung Hum.” Peter Hayes, Robert Leven Been and Leah Shapiro are BRMC, they hail from around the globe with Shapiro (drummer of Denmark’s duo…

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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club rides through days and nights to bring us unfiltered music that breaths life and unpredictability. Founded in 1998, BRMC’s first tour with the Dandy Warhols was an introduction to an alternative lifestyle. Leaving any normalcy to frequently tour, the musical rebels embrace life on the road. Comfortable and at home when traveling, entrancingly, BRMC give everything through connecting to each other and fans by delivering music to listeners on common ground. BRMC wants us to know the band are level and stand together creating a mode for expression—whatever form that takes for the individual. There is…

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Gwen Stefani Shoreline Amphitheater, Mt. View October 9, 2016 All photos by Ashleigh Castro. Gwen-a-bees buzzed to the Shoreline Saturday evening for a tour that felt like a decade in the making. This is What the Truth Feels Like arrived on bay-area shores, where Eve set the energy for Gwen Stefani’s set until the sun went down. East met West as the crowd was pleased by Philadelphian rapper Eve. Eve’s chemistry with surrounding musicians shone through. From her band to Stefani, Eve has a sensuous sass and strong beauty so hot it could melt anyone down. Her vocal hooks are…

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Garbage The Masonic Auditorium September 24, 2016 All photos by Ashleigh Castro. The packed Masonic screamed for more Garbage on a September Saturday night. The band took a four-year hiatus from San Francisco. Shirley Manson apologized for missing the city during their 20 years Queer tour celebrating their self-titled album, though made it up to us with a rare treat finale. June 10 they released a new album, Strange Little Birds. “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work,” described Manson. The album surely supports their dark inspiration, as gloomy times we face regarding politics, sex and race…

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Santigold Masonic Auditorium May 8, 2016 Photos by Ashleigh Castro We shared an intimate night at the Masonic with Santigold on a recent Sunday when she returned to San Francisco after a rain check, where she let us know she would like us to call her “Santi.”“I’m sorry I had to reschedule, and when I did, I rescheduled on Mother’s Day!” Explained Santi, she continued by mentioning how much she loved San Francisco to make the date; the mother missed her two-year-old daughter that day. It is good to see her on the mend from sick leave. San Francisco is…

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