Last Tuesday, a couple friends and I hit Tim's Tavern in Greenwood to check out the fastest-growing karaoke show in town. Back in January, Tim Arnot, the new owner of what used to be Van's 105 Tavern, brought in Katy Burk of Katybelle Productions to KJ on Tuesdays and Thursdays—a bold move, considering Tim's sits just two blocks from the 365-night-a-year karaoke juggernaut known as the Rickshaw.
Arnot's intention was not to compete with the Rickshaw. He figured his establishment could provide a nice spillover option for singers when rotations over there grew too long. But the immediate success of those nights provided enough evidence that they could coexist with their massively popular neighbor, so he quickly added Wednesdays. Then when a kitchen fire last month closed the Rickshaw for two months, it was almost his duty to add Fridays and Saturdays to aid the neighborhood's displaced crooners.
We arrived around 8:30 p.m., a half-hour before the show started. It's a cozy little room with an L-shaped bar that stretches down the left-hand side. Katy's KJ station was already set up on the corner to the left of the entrance. We bellied up right in front of her. I can't remember exactly where, but I have seen her sing at one of the other Greenwood venues. Tim told me the first place Katy ever sang karaoke was years ago at the Rickshaw with their host Patty. As often happens, she was hooked instantly.
Even before the first singer took the mike, I enjoyed the show. Katy played great laid-back classic rock, and that genre makes me feel like drinking more than any other. We'd already taken down a couple tallboys at my house, and switched it up to gin drinks and tequila shots upon arrival. Only four other patrons were there at first, but they all turned in slips.
Katy opened the night with a silky-sweet rendition of Cass Elliot's "Dream a Little Dream of Me." She was followed by another female singer who did "Take It to the Limit," an Eagles song I never hear performed enough. It wasn't long after the show started that the bar began to fill up. A solid rotation of eight singers anchored the night. The best was Kevin Smith, a black guy in a fluorescent- yellow utility jacket. He delivered awesome performances of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine," "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" by Elton John, and Player's soft-rock classic "Baby Come Back," also the evening's most random selection.
We hung out until 11 p.m. My buddy Mochi and I each got to sing four times. He entertained with a dirty version of Neil Diamond's "Love on the Rocks" (subbing "my cocks" for "the rocks") but really came through with the Grateful Dead's "Touch of Grey." I know I'm good and loose when I can pull off Bob Seger's "Night Moves." I still didn't hit the notes I never can hit, but I felt like I killed it. K. Smith sat right below me as I sang it, and the pleased look on his face made me know I was totally on my game.
Tim's will soon expand into the old barbershop next door. It will continue to have at least three karaoke nights a week once the Rickshaw reopens, but eventually plans to turn into more of a live-music venue.