Kimi’s and Doug, and Kimmet

Last night my favorite fellow field-tripper Melissa and I hopped on over to Kimi’s Asian Bistro on Blankenbaker for food by Kimi’s and music by Kimmet and Doug.

Kimi’s has a warm, intimate atmosphere with lovely Asian decor and, most importantly, reasonable prices. We were initially placed pretty far from the stage, but Melissa asked the kind gentlemen who’d sat us down if we could move closer to where the music would be. He obliged by giving us the best seat in the house, right up front by the chairs that would soon be home to the talented derrieres of Louisville’s “famous duo,” a moniker given to them by the sign on the door that was jokingly referenced many times throughout the evening.

Melissa ordered grilled hibachi chicken ($6); I got grilled hibachi shrimp ($7.50). The food arrived not long at all after we’d finished our delicious salads, and we were both impressed by the portions and the taste. Both dishes came with a heaping mound of fried rice and big pile of grilled veggies. I also ordered a Mississippi roll ($9), which had spicy crab and avocado in the middle with lightly scorched crawfish and spicy sauce on top. Unique and very delicious.

By this time Kimmet and Doug had taken the stage, beginning their first set with a gorgeous take on James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain.” If you haven’t seen these guys before, I suggest you do so as soon as possible. (And thanks to Melissa for turning me on to them; she’s been one of their biggest fans and supporters from the beginning.) Doug is bald, bold and hilariously irreverent with an acoustic guitar talent that’s nothing less than incendiary; his fingers are like fireworks going off all over the strings and he’s equally adept at folk, pop, rock and blues. And rap. (More on that later.) The guy is fiercely talented.

So, too, is Kimmet Cantwell. I find it really cool that her last name is “Cantwell”; “cantar” is Spanish for “to sing,” so her name is basically “Kimmet Sing-Well.” And boy, does she. I’ve rarely heard a voice so versatile; from song to song (and sometimes within a song) she does so many different things with her voice. It’s mesmerizing. She’s not afraid to take the vocal to an unexpected place, and the pay-off is always worth the risk. And it doesn’t hurt that she’s impossibly gorgeous. Stick Kimmet in a room with Kay Hanley and Nina Gordon and she’d rock just as hard and look just as good doing it as the chick singers I’ve been rocking out to for as long as I’ve been loving good music.

The covers ranged from Joni Mitchell and James Taylor to Prince and Pearl Jam, with a healthy dose of their own originals sprinkled in for good measure. Their vocal harmonies are perfect and effortless. They play a lot around town; do catch them if you can.

Later in the evening I ordered the dastardly delicious banana tempura, which was basically a banana lightly fried in a crunchy tempura shell with two scoops of ice cream and a little chocolate drizzle on top. Kimmet asked what it was and I offered her a bite, but she declined. Which was fine, because that left more for me and Melissa, even though I couldn’t coax Melissa to have more than a bite. Which left more for me. Which was just fine.

Kimmet and Doug have a wonderful rapport with each other and the audience. At one point she said something about my fork skills, since I was apparently tapping my fork on the top of my hand during one of the earlier songs. During a breakdown in “Cecilia” she pointed at me and said, “Fork solo!” I gladly obliged.

Another fun bit of the evening was Doug’s fascination with that Rap Cat commercial. Between (and sometimes during) songs, he could be heard doing the “Meow meow meow-meow meow meow meow-meow” and making utterly convincing record-scratching sounds on his guitar. When Kimmet scolded him for saying “fuck” too much, he gestured toward the Japanese owners and said, “They don’t understand me anyway.”

A big time was had by all. Mucho thanks to Kimi’s for the excellent food, Kimmet and Doug for the impeccable music, and Melissa for being the best field trip buddy a guy could ever ask for.

Emergency Monday Morning Update

My co-worker Amanda was pulling charts near my desk this morning and started humming something that sounded familiar. I said, “Is that Rap Cat?” It was. And she was mortified.