Author: Raymond Ahner

Raymond Ahner, a professional freelance photographer residing in San Francisco, California, is the Photography Editor for SF Sonic. Growing up in the Bay Area, Raymond was lucky enough to witness both the Punk and Thrash Metal scene of the 1980's explode literally right in front of his eyes. It was a pretty special time in his life and is what instilled his love for live music. Over the years Raymond has been fortunate enough to combine his passion for live music with his love of photography. And although he will always love shooting the big arena Rock show, it is in a tiny, packed to the rafters club were he his most at home with his gear.

High On Fire UC Theatre, Berkeley December 6, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner After winning a Grammy Award in 2018, High on Fire went through a bit of a tumultuous remainder of the year, but all their troubles now seem to be well in the rear view mirror. The band has not only emerged but have soared back to their perch as one of the leaders of the pack of the current crop of heavy metal bands. They recently returned to Oakland to play a sold-out show at the UC Theatre, and judging from the reaction of their long-time hometown…

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The Pixies August Hall December 5, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner After finishing up a six-week headlining European Fall tour, iconic rock back The Pixies just embarked on a short, seven-show Up Close and Personal tour, playing intimate venues featuring a changing setlist of songs from the 90 tunes that they have rehearsed for this run. The band recently stopped off at August Hall in San Francisco, playing a highly energetic set to a packed room. With an acoustic guitar in tow, Charles Thompson, (aka Frank Black, aka Black Francis) lead guitarist Joey Santiago, drummer David Lovering, and bassist and relative newcomer (although she has…

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Chelsea Wolfe Regency Ballroom November 16, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner Singer-Songwriter Chelsea Wolfe recently released her sixth studio album, entitled Birthplace of Violence, which, although not a departure from her neo folk-metal sound, definitely has a much more intimate and stripped-down acoustic feel to it. Chelsea has been touring in support of the record and brought her American Darkness Tour to the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. Wolfe took the stage with her acoustic guitar in a white gown, surrounded by a semi-circle of antlers and candles. With just one collaborator in the background, she opened her set with “Flatlands,”…

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 The Casualties Slim’s November 17, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner Long-running street punk heavyweights The Casualties have been out on the road and touring the states, teaming up with Strung Out for a one-two punch of American punk rock. Both bands rolled into San Francisco with a stop at Slim’s recently and showed the crowd that punk rock is still alive and well. The Casualties are supporting their eleventh and latest studio effort, Written in Blood, which was released last year on Cleopatra Records and is the first with vocalist David Rodriguez, who replaced Jorge Herrera back in 2017. Rodriguez…

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In Flames Regency Ballroom November 11, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner Swedish Death Metallers In Flames recently released their thirteenth studio effort, entitled I the Mask. The band also have a new line-up that includes ex-Megadeth guitarist Chris Broderick as a touring member playing along with long time member and lead guitarist Bjorn Gelotte. They brought their current fall tour to the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco recently, during which they showcased the new record, with a couple of classics for good measure. Taking the stage and opening their set with “Cloud Connected,” In Flames were full of energy from the…

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Tom Morello The Fillmore November 12, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner Tom Morello, guitarist for the recently reunited Rage Against the Machine, along with other projects such as Prophets of Rage and The Nightwatchman, has released a handful of solo albums over the years, but his latest, entitled The Atlas Underground, is the first under his name. Tom has recently been out on the road supporting the record and stopped off at the legendary Fillmore Auditorium to give his fans a taste. Judging from the reaction of the packed venue, his fans are just as excited with his solo efforts as they are…

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The Adicts August Hall October 28, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner British punk stalwarts The Adicts recently tore their way up and down the west coast, playing eight shows in eight days during the week leading up to Halloween. The band stopped off at the August Hall in San Francisco as part of that run and proved that they are still one of the most entertaining and energetic punk rock bands around. As the lights dimmed just as the clock hit 9:15 pm, The Adicts took the stage to the “William Tell Overture,” setting the stage and priming the crowd for…

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GWAR Regency Ballroom October 17, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner Earlier this year intergalactic metallers GWAR announced they are headlining the Use Your Collusion tour, with Sacred Reich, Toxic Holocaust, and Against the Graincoming along for support. The 47-date tour recently stopped off at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom, soaking their die-hard fans gore. Kicking off their set with their 2017 hit single “Fuck This Place,” GWAR wasted absolutely no time making a mess out of the fans in the front row, spraying them with gallons of their infamous red and green liquid. The cast of the “Slave Pit” also joined…

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Rock The Ship USS Hornet, Alameda October 19, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner The seminal East Bay-based punk rock record label Pirates Press Records recently celebrated their 15-year anniversary by hosting a four-day, too-many-bands-to-mention run of shows. Highlighted by the Saturday six-band bill on the flight deck of the USS Hornet, the entire event was nothing short of a total success. The day on the ship kicked off with Territories, followed by The Drowns, Monster Squad, Street Dogs, and the Subhumans, all of whom had the crowd dancing and smiling while in the circle pit. Without even a slight hint of…

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Obituary and Abbath UC Theatre, Berkeley October 5, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner Earlier this year Florida death metal heavyweights Obituary announced a 24-date run of fall shows, bringing along Abbath for direct support. Joined by black metallers Midnight, the tour recently pulled up to UC Theatre in Berkeley, steamrolling the nearly sold-out crowd with an evening of face-melting metal. After a brief set from punk/metal up and comers Devil Master, Midnight hit the stage with “Penetratal Ecstacy,” and proceeded to blast through and intense set that had the crowd pushing their way to the barricade to headbang along. Highlights included…

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Sunn O))) The Fillmore September 9, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner After releasing the acclaimed Life Metal record earlier this year, drone metal masters Sunn O))) have spent the good part of September out on the in the US before heading to Europe for a string of dates on the Let There Be Drone (Multiple Gain Stages) tour in October. The band recently stopped off at the Fillmore in San Francisco for an evening of what else, drone. After the house lights dimmed, but before the band took the stage, multiple layers of fog were pumped from the stage and…

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Melvins The Cornerstone, Berkeley September 8, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner The Melvins kicked off a huge ten-week, fifty-plus show tour earlier this month, and recently stopped off at Cornerstone Craft Beer and Live Music in Berkeley, for a show that sold out months in advance. With tour-mates Redd Kross supporting them, the evening proved to be well worth the wait. With bassist Steve McDonald back in the line-up and performing as a three-piece, the Melvins kicked off their set with “Seasame Street Meat,” from the Hold It In record, which ironically was recorded with Butthole Surfers bassist Jeff Pinkus, who…

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Lynyrd Skynyrd Concord Pavilion August 24, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner Lynyrd Skynyrd has been out on the road on the Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour Presented by Sirius XM 2+ Year Farewell Tour and recently stopped off at the Concord Pavilion for a summer evening of southern-fried rock that had their longtime fans paying tribute to the band one last time. Taking the stage with “Workin’ For MCA,” it was clear that the band was going to give their fans everything they had, and they delivered with a 13-song, 90-minute set. Longtime vocalist Johnny Van Zant walked…

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Ceremony August Hall August 23, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner On the same day as the release of their sixth studio record In The Spirit World Now (which is also their debut on Relapse Records) Rohnert Park-based post-punk band Ceremony celebrated by hosting their record release party at August Hall in San Francisco, and proceeded to rip the roof off the venue. The band opened their set with “Turn Away the Bad Thing,” (with guitarist Anthony Anzaldo on the keytar) the opening track of the new record, and from there they tore through a setlist that touched on much of their…

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Bush Concord Pavilion, Concord August 7, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner. Although it was only for one night, the 1990s returned to the Concord Pavilion last week, as Bush, Live, and Our Lady Peace brought the Altimate Tour to a packed house on a balmy Wednesday evening. They also brought some of the biggest MTV and radio hits of the decade and judging from the crowd’s reaction, some of those songs were sorely missed. Opening their headlining set with “Machinehead,” Bush was full of energy and were clearly enjoying themselves, right from the opening note. Singer Gavin Rossdale immediately made…

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The Alarm Regency Ballroom August 2, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner Having just released their seventeenth studio album, titled Sigma, long-time influential Welsh band The Alarm recently kicked off their Sigma LXXXV tour, bringing along fellow 80’s stalwarts Modern English and Jay Aston’s Gene Loves Jezebel for an evening of some of the most well-known songs from the era. And if the crowd’s reaction at the recent San Francisco stop was any indication, those songs have definitely withstood the test of time. The Alarm opened their set with “Blood Red Viral Black,” off the new record, and from there, Mike Peters…

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Flipper Great American Music Hall July 13, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner Iconic San Francisco punk rock band Flipper is currently out on the road on a North American tour while celebrating forty years together as a band. They recently played a hometown show at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, and with fellow San Francisco punk rock legends Frightwig seminal Austin punk rockers The Next, the evening was like being transported back to the Mabuhay Gardens circa 1984. Led by Jesus Lizzard frontman David Yow, Flipper hit the stage with “The Light, The Sound, The Rhythm, The Noise,” with…

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Santana Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mt. View June 26, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner Celebrating not only the 20th anniversary one of their biggest albums ever, Supernatural, but also the 50th anniversary of their now legendary appearance at Woodstock, Santana brought their Supernatural Now tour to the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View recently, playing a career spanning setlist in front of a sold-out crowd. Opening the set with the Santana classic “Soul Sacrifice,” (complete with video footage of him playing the same song at Woodstock) Carlos Santana and his band hit the stage running. Not even one minute into the song, Carlos…

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Duff McKagan Great American Music Hall June 14, 2019 Photos by Raymond Ahner Having just released his second solo album entitled Tenderness, Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan has recently been out on the road with outlaw country giant Shooter Jennings in support, with Jennings’ band backing him up during his set. The pair recently stopped off at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco for an intimate evening of country-inspired music. McKagan has an impressive resume that goes way beyond GNR. He formed Neurotic Outsiders, with Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols and John Taylor of Duran Duran…

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The Cult June 12, 2019 Regency Ballroom Photos by Raymond Ahner  With the re-issue of their multi-platinum album Sonic Temple coming soon, The Cult recently performed a handful of dates in both North America and the UK, with a setlist that was highlighted by not only some of the most well-known songs from the album, but also some of their biggest songs from their ten studio album discography. The band recently stopped off at San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom for a sold-out show, proving that there is still plenty of gas left in the tank. Opening their 17-song set with the…

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