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.

Garbage Fox Theater, Oakland October 3, 2018 All photos by Raymond Ahner. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their seminal Version 2.0 album, Garbage recently embarked on a U.S. tour that sees them playing a 17 state-run, playing the album in its entirety, with a few surprises thrown in for good measure. The tour recently stopped of the Fox Theater in Oakland Ca., where Shirley Manson and company delivered a 23-song performance, sounding just as good, if not better than they did all those years ago when the record was originally recorded. Opening their set with “Afterglow,” Shirley Manson strutted out onto…

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Metallica Dreamforce September 26, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. Presented by Marc Benioff and Salesforce, the 9th annual Dreamfest concert took place in San Francisco’s City Hall Plaza recently and raised over ten million dollars, which will be donated in full to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. Always the highlight of the Dreamforce conference, the evening included something for just about everyone in attendance. Before both Janet Jackson and Metallica entertained the thousands who braved the cold, wind and fog, the evening kicked off with a cocktail reception inside of city hall. There the lucky attendees were treated to an open bar…

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Evanescence and Lindsey Stirling Shoreline Amphitheater, Mt. View September 5, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. In one of the more unique pairings of the Summer concert series, American rock band Evanescence have teamed up with Lindsey Stirling for a thirty-plus date tour as part of Evanescence’s “Synthesis Tour” which has been ongoing since October of 2017. Backed by a complete orchestra, both acts shined during a recent date at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. Evanescence took the stage with the orchestra behind them and opened their set with “Never Go Back” off their most recent release, Synthesis. Vocalist and…

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Killing Joke DNA Lounge September 4, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner In recognition of their fortieth anniversary as a band, UK post-punk stalwarts Killing Joke recently embarked on a thirteen date U.S. tour before heading overseas for another thirty shows that will be seeing them performing in Mexico, Germany, France, Belgium and Italy, (among other countries) before wrapping the whole thing up in their home country. If their recent stop in San Francisco is any indication, the band’s fans are definitely going to get their money’s worth, as they played an extensive setlist that covered every era of their career.…

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David Byrne Fox Theater, Oakland August 16, 2018 With stark production, David Byrne and his ten-piece band put on an over hour and a half show, letting the music do most of the talking. While there were technically no instruments, microphones, or amplifiers on stage, there was definitely plenty of action, as Bryne was constantly moving around and interacting with his band. Highlights from his 21 song setlist included “Burning Down the House,” “Once In a Lifetime,” and “Every Day is a Miracle.” Check out Raymond Ahner’s photos of David Byrne in this slideshow:

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Ace Frehley Cornerstone, Berkeley August 14, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. There is no denying that at this point in his career, Ace Frehley has become a living legend. Even years after departing one of the biggest bands in rock history, he has continued to maintain a successful solo career, touring the world and showing his fans that he’s still got the same guitar chops that have made him one of the most iconic guitarists in rock history. If his recent stop at Cornerstone Craft Beer and Live Music was any indication, he’s showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.…

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Five Finger Death Punch Shoreline Amphitheater, Mt. View July 24, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. Having just released their seventh studio album, And Justice For None, just a few months prior, Las Vegas metal band Five Finger Death Punch have just kicked off a US to support it, bringing Breaking Benjamin, Nothing More, and Bad Wolves along for an evening of music, more than enough pyro and production, and good times for their fans. Their recent show at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View was proof of that. Kicking off their set with “Lift Me Up,” Five Finger Death Punch made…

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Neurosis UC Theatre, Berkeley July 10, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. Nearing 30 years into their career at this point, there is no denying that Neurosis have already long established their legacy. They have more than weathered their way through any storm, and still remain on top of their game, while still growing and continuing to evolving as a band. Their live shows have always been a testament to that, and if the string of sold-out shows on their current tour is any indication, they show absolutely no signs of resting on any laurels, while continuing to keep their music just as,…

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Mighty Mighty Bosstones Fillmore Auditorium June 27, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. Not many ska bands have as much history under the belts as the Mighty Mighty Bosstones do. Formed way back in 1983 (long before some of those in attendance on this particular evening were even born), they are still not only putting out new records – their 10th studio effort While Were at It was just released earlier this Summer – but are also still delivering one of the most solid and entertaining live shows around. Kicking off their set with “The Old School Off the Bright,” the Bosstones set the…

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The Specials Fox Theater, Oakland June 21, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. Now in their 41st year, seminal ska revival and 2 Tone band The Specials have been touring the United States this spring, and recently stopped off at the Fox Theater in Oakland, Ca. for an evening of some of their biggest hits, much to the delight of their fans who packed the venue. And if the reception that that received was any way to gauge, their music remains as timeless as it ever was. With the passing of original drummer John Bradbury and the departure of original guitarist, Roddy Radiation one…

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Slayer Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX June 19, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner.  Having just wrapped up the first leg of their current (and final) world tour, there is no doubt that Slayer can still pack a venue and deliver a blistering set of thrash metal, as evident by their recent show at the Bomb Factory in Dallas, Texas. With a capacity of 4300, The Bomb Factory was by far the smallest venue the band has played on this tour, but that most certainly didn’t stop them from delivering yet another epic set, even 37 years as a band. As the anticipation…

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Styx Concord Pavilion June 1, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. One of the most anticipated tours of the Summer rolled into the Concord Pavilion recently, bringing co-headliners Styx and Joan Jett, along with openers Tesla together for an evening of classic (and new) rock underneath the stars for thousands of fans spent the night singing along to every word. Having released their sixteenth studio album, The Mission, last year Styx are technically touring in support of it, but that didn’t stop them from combining the songs from the new record with their enormous back catalog of hits that have made them one…

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Punk Rock Bowling Las Vegas Events Center May 26 – 28, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. Celebrating its twenty year anniversary, Punk Rock Bowling once again outdid itself with one of its most diverse lineups yet, bringing punk rock fans from all over the world to the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center on Memorial Day weekend. As if there was any doubt, the festival left little doubt that is one of, if not the biggest punk rock festivals ever. Day one of the festival was fully loaded, featuring high energy sets from D.O.A. (now in their fortieth year,) English punk…

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Acoustic 4 A Cure Fillmore Auditorium May 15, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner.  The fifth annual Acoustic 4 A Cure benefit show took place at the Fillmore recently and proved once again to be nothing short of a great concert for an even better cause. Created by Sammy Hagar and Metallica frontman James Hetfield as a way to put on a must-see event while donating the proceeds to the Pediatric Cancer Program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, the event has become one of the most celebrated concerts of the year, not to mention one of the hottest tickets. Unfortunately, Hetfield was not able…

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Morbid Angel Slim’s May 7, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. Few death metal bands have had as much history under the belts as Morbid Angel do. Although they have had endless line-up changes over the years, they are now in their thirty-fifth year as a band and not only continue to churn out records but tour the world in support of them, all while remaining one of the most influential bands in death metal history. They recently released their ninth studio album Kingdoms Disdained, and are currently touring behind it, stopping off at Slim’s in San Francisco recently to deliver the metal to their…

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Cradle of Filth Fillmore Auditorium April 22, 2018 All photos by Raymond Ahner. As one of the first metal bands to bring extreme metal music to the masses, Great Britain’s Cradle of Filth is still rolling strong, having just released their twelfth studio album, Cryptoriana- The Seductiveness of Decay (Nuclear Blast), in September of 2017.  And although frontman Dani Filth may be the only original member, the band still know how to put on a show, as evident by their recent San Francisco stop at the Fillmore Auditorium. As the house lights dimmed and the stage was flooded in red, the…

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Saxon The Cornerstone, Berkeley April 18, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. As one of the pioneers of the New Wave of Heavy Metal movement, England’s Saxon are still rolling strong, having just released their 22nd studio album, Thunderbolt, earlier this year. The band has also been out on the road supporting the record by providing direct support for fellow UK metal legends Judas Priest, and on the eve of their San Francisco show played a sold-out headlining show at Cornerstone Craft Beer and Live Music in Berkeley. After local bands The Watchers and The Butlers got the crowd primed for…

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Prong Slim’s March 31, 2018 All photos by Raymond Ahner. Although Tommy Victor and Prong may be thirty-plus years into their career, it most certainly doesn’t stop them from absolutely steamrolling their way in and out of venues across the world, and their recent show at Slim’s in San Francisco was no exception. Supporting their twelfth studio record, Zero Days, the band returned to the venue for the first time in almost twenty years and picked up right where they left off. Hitting the stage with “Forced Into Tolerance,” off the new record, Prong pretty much set the tone for the evening with…

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Sabrosa Festival Papa Murphy’s Park, Sacramento April 8, 2018 Photos by Raymond Ahner. After the success of the inaugural Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco & Music Festival last year at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, California, the festival has returned in 2018 and has now expanded to include a total of seven dates, including the second stop at Papa Murphy’s Park in Sacramento. The weather was perfect and made for a great day of drinking beer, eating tacos, watching some Lucha Libre wrestling, and taking in six punk rock bands, including headliners The Offspring. The gates opened just before noon, and…

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Michael Schenker City National Civic, San Jose March 24, 2018 All photos by Raymond Ahner. With a career spanning over four decades, Michael Schenker must have his hands full when trying to decide on a setlist for a live show. But when you bring along four of the vocalists that made some of your songs staples of classic rock and play a nearly three-hour show, it must be just a bit easier to narrow down. It also gives you a chance to showcase your talents and show that you are still one of the top guitarists in hard rock history. With no…

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