Stereogum Does CMJ: The Orchard Party

[WARNING: This post is about The Hold Steady. If you don’t like them, this may send you into fits of rage over everything from the band’s age to Craig’s inability to sing. If this is you, we suggest skipping to the next post. Or pulling a C. Love and chanting for compassion, patience, and understanding before reading.]

We made our way to the Annex on Orchard St. for The Orchard party (no relation) on a bone-chilling Friday night in time for Dirty On Purpose and Cold War Kids. Normally, we would’ve skipped this showcase ’cause we’ve seen those bands more than a few times — but the worst-kept secret of CMJ was that the best secret headliner of CMJ was The Hold Steady at the Orchard party on Orchard. So we went, and guess what? It was just as beer splatteringly awesome as last time.


The room didn’t give Craig a lot of time (early curfew in place to allow another party later in the night), but he made the most of what he had. Aside from “Stevie Nix,” we were looking at Boys And Girls tunes; opening with “Stuck Between Stations,” killing on “Chips Ahoy,” and closing with the (as) sweeping (as they’ll get) “Southtown Girls.” The Annex is a small shoebox shaped room, but even then, it was only the first few rows that were going nuts like it was a video shoot. Still, as long as we didn’t look over our shoulder, it felt like we were in a massive crowd of grinning, singing idiots. Just like us!