Opinion: Pop-up music venues should gain traction in Norwalk

How apropos is it for a Motown concert to pop up in a tire store parking lot?
How apropos is it for a Motown concert to pop up in a tire store parking lot?

Correction, update 4 p.m. Aug. 6: Currie’s Tire is celebrating its 85th anniversary this near, not its 80th. The Columbus Day Weekend concert has been changed to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11. And the bank has been booked to play the Oyster Festival at 6 p.m. Sept. 7.

NORWALK, Conn. – I did a double take recently while driving along West Avenue.

No, it had nothing to do with the progress on the Waypointe development, which is really nice to see. Here’s hoping it’s catching.

But this was something different – a small tent, and a sign advertising live Motown music Friday, July 26, in the parking lot at Currie’s Tire.

A tire shop is not where one would typically expect to find a live band offering up classic tunes on a warm summer night. But I was intrigued. Unfortunately, I was also otherwise occupied, so I drove off and forgot all about it.

Currie's Tire owner Tim Currie put together the Motown band and is giving occasional free concerts at the shop parking lot.
Currie’s Tire owner Tim Currie put together the Motown band and is giving occasional free concerts at the shop parking lot.

Fast forward to July 29. I needed a tire. Desperately. My left front went flat a day earlier. It was only flat on the bottom, but I knew it was just a matter of time. So I headed to Currie’s and, as the tire was tended to, I asked Tim Currie about the music.

That’s when I found out it was Tim Currie’s Motown Review Band, and the performance was the second of the summer, back by popular demand, he said. The two free performances have drawn, by his count, some 700 people.

Curries crowd
Motown fans pack the parking lot at Currie’s Tire West Avenue.

The concerts were, in part, to celebrate the family-owned tire shop’s 85th year in business. They also were promotional concerts for the band. Tim Currie, the group’s drummer, said he was hoping to play the Oyster Festival, scheduled for Sept. 6-8, and he is hoping to get some promotional mileage (had to get the tire pun in somewhere) out of his parking lot performances.

Indeed, that apparently worked. Currie said Tuesday, Aug. 6, that the band has been booked to play the Oyster Festival at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7.

I love Motown music. I love music in general, having attended Berklee College of Music as a trombone player – even a worse career choice than journalist when it comes to stability – and having spent more than a decade singing standards, show tunes and ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s tunes in various bars and showrooms from Cape Cod to Florida.

And I really love the idea of pop-up concerts in unexpected venues. It’s not unlike running into a flash mob dancing to some catchy Top 40 tune with a nice hook. It’s somehow more satisfying than showing up in the park for a scheduled evening of al fresco tunes, or heading to the theater. Not that’s there’s anything wrong with that. In fact, I’d like to see more of that in Norwalk.

But the unexpected, pop-up venue? How nice would it be to see these shows turning up around Wall Street, someplace in East Norwalk, or along Connecticut and Westport avenues? Norwalk seems to like the idea of finding reasons to lure visitors from surrounding towns to spend some time and money in the city, and rightly so. Maybe turning Norwalk into someplace where you can expect to be surprised – in a good way – would contribute to that aura.

As for the Tim Currie’s Motown Review Band, they’ll be back at it at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, in the tire store parking lot. Tim says he plans to line up several vendors to serve up refreshments to what he expects to be a Columbus Day weekend crowd.


7 responses to “Opinion: Pop-up music venues should gain traction in Norwalk”

  1. Avatar

    Terrific story, loved the video clip. This is Norwalk putting its best foot forward. Thank you, Tim Currie.

  2. Debora

    Currie is one of Norwalk’s finest. Good service at a good price. His family business has s been here for 80 years. His employees are cheerful and responsible. Nancy, next time you talk to Tim, ask him about the fundraising he does for charity too. It seems he was too modest to mention it.

  3. David Smith

    There’s nothing like Motown, and no one like Tim Currie! What a great assemblage of musical talent! Sorry I missed the performance, but hope you make it into the Oyster Festival. I’ll hope to see and hear you as I host the Oyster Slurping Contest on Saturday Afternoon of the Festival, this year.

  4. Doug

    Nice read and a good story for Norwalk as well.

    And yeah they’re very good!

    And I had no idea you are a musician, Mark!

  5. oldtimer

    Before the turnpike, and for some time after, West Ave carried all the NY to Boston truck traffic and Curries was the 24hr truck stop. There was a fleet of Currie’s tire service trucks that were equipped to change and sometimes repair flat tires on all kinds of vehicles, out on the highway. Currie’s carried an enormous inventory of tires and were able to get anybody with tire trouble back on the road quickly. Tim’s grandfather seemed to be there all the time, although he must have taken a few hours a day off. If a customer showed up with problem Currie’s didn’t fix, they knew every 24hr mechanic and tow truck service in Norwalk and got somebody there to fix the problem or, at least, tow the disabled vehicle away.

  6. LWitherspoon

    Love it! Norwalk and the West Ave area need more of this.

  7. Steve Serasis

    Long time friend, Tim Currie, is doing a great thing by adding even more variety & flavor to the local Uptown music scene, which is emerging in the area this summer. This event will add to events on the green, Tuesday Open Mic night in Freese Park (free every Tuesday through the summer), area studios, and restaurant performances, and what ever else is developing down the line. All great developments in furthering live performance & art in the Norwalk uptown area…Thank you for this wonderful community gesture, and awesome night of music Currie Family!

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