Morrissey’s Halloween night show at the Ventura Theater was one of the musical highlights of 2018. Photo by T Christian Gapen

It’s turning into a yearly tradition here at the Reporter. Once again, we reached out to various members of the local music scene to ask them for their favorite shows of the year. The picks stretch continents and genres but we’re happy to say quite a few happened right here in our backyard. Now let’s all make a New Year’s resolution to go to more shows in 2019!

“Morrissey at The Ventura Theater. He’s made it really hard to like him with some of the s**t he says, but I do love a ton of the songs that he’s had a hand in writing. Finding out he was playing in my hometown on Halloween made me scrap any cover band ideas and commit to seeing him. When he started the set with The Smiths song, ‘William, It Was Really Nothing,’ I knew it was gonna be a great show . . . and it was.” — John Crerar, Stalag 13

“The Smoking Popes at Rock City. One of the most underrated bands of all time playing their masterpiece in its entirety at an all-ages venue on a weeknight. It was too good to be true. They were amazing. Sounded as good as the record and it came out 20 years ago. Was stunned it wasn’t sold out but literally a who’s who of the music scene were in the crowd singing along to every word.” — John Sveiven, Arkive Studios

“The LA Philharmonic with Herbie Hancock, Katy Perry, Kali Uchis and John Williams at the Hollywood Bowl. When John Williams came out with the Philharmonic and they played the theme song to Star Wars, the sold out crowd went nuts. One of the best vibes ever.” — Xocoyotzin “Xoco” Moraza, Las Cafeteras

“The Roy Orbison Hologram at the Wiltern Theatre. For my money, which was none cause I won the tickets, nothing beats seeing the bizarre ghostly visage of Roy Orbison perform 12 certified bangers to a three-fourths empty Wiltern. His wooden previously recorded banter was splendid as well.” — Zeke Berkley

“Firefall at the Thousand Oaks Civic [Arts Plaza]. Watching talented veteran players recreate their amazing ’70s hits like ‘You Are the Woman,’ ‘Just Remember I Love You,’ ‘Strange Way,’ to name a few, was inspiring. Original members Jock Bartley, Mark Andes and David Muse are the real deal. Michael Clarke (R.I.P.) would have been proud.” — Rod Ensminger, Rodney West Management

“Thundercat. Jesus. What can I say? The guy is amazing. To make it even more special it was the last official show of 2018 before Live Nation takes over.” — Chris Husted, front of house engineer and stage manager at Ventura Theater

“Probably The Interrupters at Velvet Jones in Santa Barbara. I played in a band with the singer, Aimee Allen, years ago and it warms my heart to see someone I know grow and do well in the music industry.” — Pat Pedraza, Dad Brains

“Berlin at the Rose in Pasadena. We were fortunate to share the bill with them for three shows and I was so impressed with Terri Nunn on that first show. She really sounded great and the video production during her performance was awesome.” — Bill Rotella, Amber and Smoke

“Chris Hillman with Herb Pedersen. A benefit for the Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslide victims. Surprise guest David Crosby. To hear them duet and harmonize on ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’ was magical.” — Polly Hoganson, Ones To Watch Productions

“I got three. I can’t pick one over the other, but Nikki Lane at Paso Robles Event Center, Dream Syndicate at the Troubadour and Night Demon at Frost and Fire Festival in Ventura were all amazing.” — Robert Ramirez, Medicine Hat

“I have to say the Thomas Fire Love Notes benefit. Not only was it a time we were able to show our love and support for our community, but the performances were outstanding, from Glen Phillips from Toad the Wet Sprocket to Chris Pierce to Shane Alexander to the reuniting of Shades of Day and all the bands and artists mostly out of the 805 who gave their time to support. The show was produced by Steve and Polly Hoganson, who asked me to emcee the day. It was such an honor.” — Pam Baumgardner,

“Teenage Fanclub at the Electric Ballroom in Camden Town over in the UK. They performed their classic album Songs From Northern Britain.” — Frank Barajas

“Our Thomas Fire One Year Anniversary with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. It embodied our community and was a night of dancing, hugs and love. It truly brought tears of joy.” — Kat Merrick, Totally Local VC

“Springsteen on Broadway. It was largely about illusion. It was mesmerizing to hear Bruce describe himself as a fraud. The guy who wrote ‘Racing in the Street’ didn’t know anything about cars. He could have just told a few stories and sung the hits but instead he created something unsettling and lovely.” — Rain Perry

“Lauren Ruth Ward. Her album release party at the Troubadour was a lot of fun. She has this Black Crowes, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin kick to her music. Her album got picked up and re-released by a major label. Hoping to work closely with her on her next album. She rocks.” — Mike Kohli, Kohli Rocks Entertainment

“Army of Freshmen’s 20th Anniversary Show at Discovery. Hands down. I have fond memories of seeing them in Ventura 20 years ago when they started. And all these years later, they still bring it. Great to see the old lineup back together again. It was impossible to sit or stand still, their energy on stage was so infectious. To say I had a great time was an understatement. It was well worth the long wait to see them in Ventura again.” — Rene Ponce, Goodnight Kiss