Sean Kelly’s Top of the Mic: The Nitty-Gritty


Instead Thursday nights’ Must See TV, come out to Sean Kelly’s Top of the Mic.

It is a must-see, must-listen, must-vote event for Missoula music buffs. Sean Kelly’s does not charge a cover for this event and with one drink purchased, you receive a ballot to vote for your favorite musicians.

On Thursday nights, four contestants move on to the Saturday semi-final show to compete. The fourth round, and last semi-final, will be held on April 28th so you still have two Thursday’s to come join in the fun, great music, and vote.

Top of the Mic Musicians Performing this Thursday, April 12th:

  • 8:40: Jaque
  • 9:00: Ely Sheets
  • 9:20: Paradigm Shift
  • 9:40: Three Way Street
  • 10:00: Adrienne Elise
  • 10:20: My New Band
  • 10:40: Brendan Ball
  • 11:00: Epoche
  • 11:20: The Steady Changes
  • 11:40: Sozin’s Comet
  • 12:00: Darshan Pulse
  • 12:20: Grit

This is a judged contest, with the audience votes weighing for a third of the score.

The Sean Kelly's Top of the Mic handbill

The full list of contestants for the 2012 Top of the Mic competition. Click to see larger.

There are always three judges each night and they have criteria to look at for each competitor. The official judging sheet has four principal items: Tone /intonation, technique, interpretation, and other factors (which consider choice of music, originality, stage presence, appearance, and musical ability).

The judges grade the four principal items on a scale of one to ten, with one being the lowest score and ten being the highest.  They then add up the total score up to 40 points, all three judges fill out an official judging sheet, then add in the votes from the patrons. The highest possible score from the judges alone is 120.

The winner of the final competition on May 5 will receive $1000. A total of 105 musicians are competing. It is too late to enter the contest for this year, but next year promises more great music from local talent.

Come early to get a seat for they are limited and as always Sean Kelly’s has a great menu of food to choose from. You can purchase a Top of the Mic T-shirt with all 105 contestants’ names on the back for ten bucks. Watch Mike Avery work his magic on the sound and keep the show running fast and smooth.

Sean Kelly’s Top of the Mic Sponsors are UMEM, Glacier Distilling, Montana Musicians Artist Coalition, and Sean Kelly’s.

Finals will be held on Cinco de Mayo – May 5, 2012. Sean Kelly’s is located at 130 W. Pine Street in Missoula.

It is an inexpensive, enjoyable, and exciting evening at the Pub!


The next Top of the Mic show at Sean Kelly’s will be on Thursday, April 12. 


Missoula writer Leisa Greene Nelson

Call her a big city girl at heart, finding and satiating that appetite in the city of Missoula. Born in Butte and raised in Missoula, she is fascinated by people and looks for interesting characters to write about.  Everyone has a story to tell, or not, but the people and places in Missoula are unique.

Moving fast in life (for that big city feel) Leisa’s passions bounce around music, theater, food, art, family, and  friends that’s supported by an IV line of dark roasted coffee. Single and a recent graduate from the University of Montana with a BA in Creative Writing, she learned what it was like to be a co-ed in her 40s.

She currently works as an Office Manager at Inter-State Studio and Publishing, working on school photos and yearbooks. Her personal life and nightlife is where she discovers and creates creative non-fiction stories. She has four supportive, loving children:  Dustin, Michael, Jalynn, and Mark (adopted through marriage to Dustin) who are all artistically creative in writing, theater, dance, and singing.  Leisa likes to think she moves faster than they do.