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Ray Barrows mops the stage floor of the theater, raised 21 inches in the renovation to provide better views from throughout the venue.

Since the Wilma Theatre held its grand reopening at the beginning of October, the extensively renovated Grand Old Dame of downtown Missoula has hosted sold-out shows by My Morning Jacket, Godsmack, Shakey Graves, Patty Griffin, and two nights and three performances of "The Rocky Horror Show Live."

Others like EDM group Big Gigantic were close, too, sometimes within 10 tickets.

"We've gotten a ton of compliments on the sound," owner Nick Checota said. He also noted that people like the new tiered stage and the new bars. The seated shows have also gone off well.

"Godsmack was really something," he said. The journeyman metal act was moved from the Adams Center and he and his staff accommodated a full-capacity crowd with arena production on 24 hours' notice.

Nick and his wife Robin, who also own the Top Hat, invested significant funds in a new line-array sound system and digital soundboard, plus a new tiered stage. The removal of the seats on the bottom level, with the addition of tiers, increases the capacity to 1,400 people.

In addition to live music, the venue has hosted events and fundraisers. It's available for private gatherings like weddings and banquets, and Checota said there's a "flood" of inquiries coming in.

The 100-year-old hall can still sometimes be tricky to mix, he said, and acts like Dave Rawlings Machine, who didn't use any monitors or on-stage gear and had engineers experienced with the soundboard, worked out the best.

The schedule through February has mostly filled out, including the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, and music fans expect more to come.

A new venue takes time to gather steam, Checota said, estimating that it will take about a year from the reopening date to build a reputation with booking agencies and "become a place that people want to go out of their way" to play.

"We'll get there," he said.

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