Non-Comm kicks off with Blondie, The Districts, Chicano Batman

Chicano Batman will play the Non-Commvention at World Cafe Live on Wednesday night.

The Non-Commvention, the awkwardly named but excellently programmed annual gathering of (mostly) non-commercial radio stations hosted by WXPN-FM (88.5) that brings top-tier talent to Philadelphia every spring happens starting Wednesday night at the World Cafe Live.

Non-Comm kicks off tonight with an impressive slate of acts - including rip roaring Philly band The Districts, Los Angeles soul outfit Chicano Batman and back in action New Wave legends Blondie  - that all hope to garner radio play on radio stations that hew to the adult-alternative format - also known as Triple A, for confusing reasons - in which XPN is a national leader.

The shows are open first to industry professionals and next to radio station members, and all three nights sold out. The good news, though, is that anyone can listen in the live broadcasts on the radio or at Or the can watch on the NPR Music video streaming service Vu Haus. All performances will be heard and seen in both places.

The Thursday night schedule is strong, too, with L.A.’s Mondo Cozmo (fronted by former Philadelphia bandleader and producer Joshua Oustrander), often sublime New Jersey jangle band Real Estate, becalmed Brit songwriter Laura Marling (also playing the TLA Friday night)  and a pair of Nashville outfits in soul-roots band The Mavericks and amped-up primitive rocker Ron Gallo.

And the band list, with shows alternating throughout the evening between the larger downstairs and upstairs venues, stays strong on Friday, with New Orleans guitarist Benjamin Booker, British sad song singer Holly Macve, Paisley Underground legends the Dream Syndicate, and folk rockers Hurray For The Riff Raff and veteran blues and soul man Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm.

A note of self-promotion: As part of NonComm’s behind close doors sessions, I’ll be interviewing Dan Auerbach, the Black Keys leader and record producer, along with WXPN’s Dan Reed, my partner in the bi-weekly The Dan and Dan Music Podcast. Auerbach has a solo album called Waiting On A Song, due on June 2. Despite undoubtedly popular demand, that interview will not be broadcast live.  You’ll have to wait to hear it on an upcoming episode of the podcast.

Here’s the NonComm night time performance schedule. There are also sold out Free at Noons slated with  Nancy & Beth and The Pixies on Thursday and Ala.Ni and Paul Shaffer & the World’s Most Dangerous Band on Friday.  


7-7:25 – The National Reserve
7:30-7:55 – Brent Cobb
8-8:25 – The Districts
8:30-8:55 – Ani Difranco
9-9:25 – Bash & Pop
9:30-10:15 – Blondie
10:20-10:50 – Greg Graffin
10:55-11:20 – Chicano Batman


7-7:25 – Kyle Craft
7:30-7:55 - Baskery
8-8:25 – Mondo Cozmo
8:30-8:55 – Laura Marling
9-9:30 – The Mavericks
9:35-10:00 – Real Estate
10:05-10:45 – Gov’t Mule
10:50-11:15 – Ron Gallo


7-7:25 - Holly Macve
7:30-7:55 – The Growlers
8-8:25 – Lo Moon
8:30-8:55 – Benjamin Booker
9-9:25 – The Dream Syndicate
9:30-9:55 – Hurray For The Riff Raff
10:00-10:40 – Robert Cray & Hi Rhythm