Author: Pollen Heath

Pollen grew up in the Bay Area music scene, with influences from her step father and uncle’s blues/ rock band, and her mother’s deep seeded love for all things artistic. Picking up a Polaroid at the age of 10, Pollen began her passion for photography. Her music photography career started while documenting Sonoma County punk bands in 1984, and with the exception of raising her two children, Pollen never looked back. Now a college graduate, and full time wine & spirits marketer, she also runs a freelance photography business in the East Bay, with a passion for music and the needs of the local rock scene. When not out shooting for bands and music publications, she also enjoys writing about music, watching horror films and spending time with her two adult children + grand daughter.

Electric Funeral, Hellbender, Profits of Doom Mystic Theater, Petaluma June 6, 2019 Photos by Pollen Heath The historic Mystic Theater has been hosting live music since 1992, and was an early adopter of inviting local alternative, punk, and metal to their stage. Since then, the Mystic has evolved into a premier night club that reflects a changing local demographic, catering primarily to mainstream gen-x’rs and baby boomers, with acts such as The English Beat, local pop and rock tribute bands, folk/ country legend Wynonna Judd, and reggae/ dub step favorites from the California Roots team, to name but a recent…

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If Tony Bennett’s age-old song is any indication, San Francisco has long been a integral part of music in America. From the Fillmore Jazz scene to the Age of Aquarius and everything punk, metal, and rock in between, our city by the bay has thrived with it’s own artists and brought acts from far and near to it’s shining shores. This swing/big band project by native son Sven Soderlund is no exception. Sven was born in San Francisco into a musically talented family – his father played clarinet and saxophone, and his mother played piano and vocals in a local…

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Metal Alliance Tour featuring Goatwhore The Cornerstone, Berkeley November 11, 2018 Photos by Pollen Heath. The Metal Alliance tour lineup has long been a diverse, yet heavy package. This year’s rip-roaring tour hit the East Bay with  metal- and punk-fueled vengeance. NOLA’s Goatwhore, The Casualties (New York hardcore), Black Tusk (Sludge Metal, Savannah Georgia) and Great American Ghosts (Ann Arbor punk-metal fusion) were also alternately joined by Morthereon (10/31 – 11/17) and Gozu (11/18 – 11/30). Coming directly off a tour in Europe and onto the Metal Alliance tour, Goatwhore assailed the small stage at Berkeley’s Cornerstone as the acclaimed…

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Doyle Bramhall II Yoshi’s, Oakland July 25, 2018 Photos by Pollen Heath. I remember sitting in a room in a family home in Santa Rosa, CA, listening to the Dead Kennedys’ “Holiday in Cambodia” and watching Doyle finger his guitar strings; every now and again his doodling hit a low soulful note and his face sunk into that pain right along with it. It’s likely a lit cigarette might have been involved, but it’s also likely that this was an event that took place some odd 33 years ago, so it’s all a little fuzzy, just like all the other…

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Social Distortion Masonic Auditorium June 1, 2018 Photos by Pollen Heath. If you grew up listening to Cali punk rock in the 80’s, you’ve likely heard of Mike Ness and Social Distortion, and you’ve more than likely seen their incredible live show. Founded in Fullerton, CA in the middle of punk rock mania circa 1978, Social Distortion has always been a bit different than your typical So Cal punk rock band. What started off as teenage angst influenced by the likes of The Ramones, The Clash, New York Dolls, and Dead Boys, in the late 70’s and early 80’s progressed…

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California Roots Festival Monterey Fairgrounds May 25-27, 2018 Photos by Pollen Heath. Justin Dahl wrote this review with contributions from Pollen Heath. The Monterey Fairgrounds played host to the 9th Annual California Roots Festival over Memorial Day weekend, featuring a wide variety of incredible music, art, specialty apparel vendors, healthy global cuisine, a few carnival fair type food choices, free water refill stations, traditional band merchandise, and craft beers. 2018’s festival was indicative of the recent recreational legalization of cannabis, as major cannabis sponsors were front and center. Patrons and artists at this year’s festival alike celebrated the repeal of…

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SUM 41 The Warfield April 27, 2018 Photos by Pollen Heath. Nothing builds excitement for a rock show like a tell-tale white spectral front of house sheet to build excitement for the magic onstage. San Francisco’s Warfield had the pleasure of hosting Sum 41’s first date of their twenty-something day tour to celebrate the 15-year anniversary of their infamous Does This Look Infected? album. Also featured on this tour is Pop Punk genre super stars, Seaway, as well as new comer and label mate Super Whatevr (Costa Mesa, CA). The album Does This Look Infected? confirmed SUM 41 for International…

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In This Moment Ace of Spades, Sacramento April 10, 2018 Photos by Pollen Heath. Few bands in today’s metal climate go the extra mile with stage production, and even fewer add finely detailed lighting enhancements set to their music.  In This Moment is one metal band that can tout all of the above, and then some. Their stage show, multiple costume changes, make up, and lighting are all top notch. In This Moment’s whole show wails with witchy originality. Founders Maria Brink (lead vocals) and Chris Howorth (lead guitar) layer their hard hitting, nu-ish gothic metal with Maria’s harmonic pipes…

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Stick Figure Fox Theater, Oakland February 3, 2018 With seven self-produced albums to his credit, singer, multi-instrumentalist and vibe architect, Scott Woodruff and his band Stick Figure brought their laid back, euphoric brand of dub step reggae to the stage of Oakland’s Fox Theater. The Above the Storm tour also featured supporting acts Twiddle, and LA based Iya Terra, all three bands with their own unique twist on the island sound. This bill was an intense mirage of sound that begged for a three hour long hip swagger. Woodruff’s Stick Figure band consists of himself as vocalist, producer and guitarist,…

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Collie Budzz and Jesse Royal The Independent December 8, 2017 All photos by Pollen Heath. In the wake of spreading marijuana legalization in the US, a weed that Jamaican Rastafari have long revered as their spiritual right, it seems only natural that younger reggae and weed enthusiasts in the bay area would flock to a show that promotes a laid back, in touch, cannabis lifestyle. Not surprisingly, two nights sold out at the 500 person capacity Independent in San Francisco, and the spirits were high for some original roots, reggae, and electronically inclined dub style hip-hop! Colin Harper (aka Collie…

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KMDFM Regency Ballroom October 22, 2017 All photos by Pollen Heath. Pioneering Industrialist husband and wife duo Sascha Konietzko (vocals, synths), and Lucia Cifarelli (vocals, effects) delivered a heart pounding set at the Regency a few weeks ago, bringing their fantastic light show and unique costumes and sound with them for their HELL YEAH tour. Hell Yeah is KMFDM’s 20th album, and, considering the longevity of the band, they have not relented in terms of angry political commentary, and hard hitting beats. Originally formed by Konietzko in Paris circa 1984 as a performing arts project, KMFDM or Kein Mehrheit Für…

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Red Til I’m Dead Movie Preview Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley November 29, 2017 Somewhere, in the hot Mexico sun, shines a very large sombrero worthy of a daily rock ‘n’ roll party. Red Rocker Sammy Hagar built his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas in 1990, in the midst of his early years with Van Halen. Cabo San Lucas in those years was small, and not the destination it has evolved into today, but Sammy stayed the course throughout all his years of touring and making music and later actively took more of a role in the Cantina. Today…

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Joe Bonamassa The Warfield October 19, 2017 All photos by Pollen Heath. A dapper and extremely punctual Joe Bonamassa strolls onstage in his tightly tailored suit, signature sunglasses and ultra sleek hairstyle and fans are immediately transported to an era of big band swing: luminescent, crisp, and pastel stage lighting, complete with pedestals for each of his seven accompanying band mates and podiums for his esteemed trumpet and sax players. The strum of Bonamassa’s finely tuned custom baby blue Les Paul, strikes up the set with a full sounding, steel wheel-to-track version of “This Train” from 2016’s Blues of Desperation…

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Rome with Sublime and The Offspring Shoreline Amphitheater, Mt. View September 28, 2017 Photos by Pollen Heath. While circle pits don’t always make an appearance at the Shoreline Amphitheater, there were a fair amount of kids on the lawn determined to make it happen for this show. The punk/ ska/ reggae fusion of the Offspring and Sublime with Rome instantly transported us to a stage full of multi-generational, punk inspired hit music. Sublime with Rome belts out a string of original Bradley Nowell hits to just about every tour they do, mixing the songs in with popular tunes off their…

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MUSE Shoreline Amphitheater, Mt. View September 15, 2017 All photos by Pollen Heath. On a recent Friday night, a sold out crowd engorged the meager two lane/two exit arrival off Hwy 101 in Mountain View to see PVRIS, Thirty Seconds to Mars and MUSE; quite the formidable bill on a beautiful late Summer night. MUSE has a reputation for an incredible light show and flashy props on stage in addition to all the rave reviews out there about their live show musically. While their stage show was simplified this time out, the tone and seamless musical precision of these three…

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Slightly Stoopid Greek Theater, Berkeley July 22, 2017 All photos by Pollen Heath. Influenced by the likes of jazz, rhythm & blues, and dance hall music, reggae preaches love, the communal connection to each other, and a deep connection to the cannabis culture, as well as Mother Earth. Reggae reaches out and grabs its listeners with grooving bass lines and an easy-to-dance-to musical format.  Some would say a “hippie fest” of melody. Born in the heart of Jamaica in the 60s, but noted early on as far reaching as the rock-steady and ska beats in the UK in the 50s, reggae…

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Suicide Girls Blackheart Burlesque The Independent June 17, 2017 All photos by Pollen Heath. What provocative treat lay in store for us on this warm evening in San Francisco? Certainly not the kind that shares a passion for pop culture, and a love for a seductive dance? No, not that… Watching these ladies shake their ta-ta’s on stage was incredibly engaging and visually stimulating. Truly sexy in every shape of the word and their dancing was top notch. Their performance was chalked-full of pop culture themes from Cannabis Lifestyle to Game of Thrones, to Stranger Things and Michael Jackson’s Thriller,…

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Boston with Joan Jett Shoreline Amphitheater, Mt. View June 14, 2017 All photos by Pollen Heath. Musician and engineer extraordinaire Tom Scholz brought the level of visual and audio live music technique up a notch with his band Boston at the Shoreline this past week, along with the undisputed Queen of straight up rock n roll, Joan Jett, and her Blackhearts. This evening’s headlining blastoff was initiated with the eponymous song “Rock n Roll Band,” circa 1976, off Boston’s first self titled album. An album that has been solidified in Rock ‘n’ Roll history; breaking record sales and hailed as one of the…

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Me First and the Gimme Gimmes UC Theatre, Berkeley May 14, 2017 All photos by Pollen Heath. If you’re a product of yesteryear or just a fan of kick ass retro rock songs done 90s punk style, these cover tunes are for you! A mixed mecca of musical transitions meant to keep you bopping and grooving, Me First and The Gimme Gimmes is a punk rock super group that infuses classic punk rock tunes with the likes of Kenny Loggins’ “Danny’s Song,” John Denver’s “Country Roads,” and Paul Simon’s “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.” Formed semi-intentionally by punk…

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Coheed and Cambria Fox Theater, Oakland April 14, 2017 All photos by Pollen Heath. Rock band Coheed and Cambria came to The Fox Theater on a Friday night on another one of their acclaimed Neverender tours, wherein the band plays one of their seminal early albums in its entirety. This time around it was a performance of their third release, Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV: Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. The album is a true epic that encompasses many different styles of music, ranging from rampaging heavy metal to wacked out prog rock to introspective, acoustically-based singer-songwriter music.…

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