The 2019 NON-COMMvention was a parade of musical talent packed into the upstairs and downstairs of Philadelphia’s World Cafe Live between May 14 and 17. The following are some of the highlights, courtesy of MAGNET’s Chris Sikich, who took the photos and wrote the words.
The night began with Cherry Glazerr soundchecking “Daddi” twice, and it sounded as disturbing and infectious as any track played at NON-COMM or during the year thus far for that matter … WIVES obliterated the upstairs with their stunning punk. They were one of the best discoveries of the convention … Locally based Ali Awan certainly gained some new fans with his rock hooks … Three of my favorite bands/performers stunned with tight sets. Adia Victoria wowed downstairs behind the sublime Silences. Ex Hex never gets old, always delivering a jolt with its timeless rock. And locals Strand Of Oaks wrapped the night up with a riveting trip to Eraserland and earlier works.
The National delivered a stunning live performance of songs from brilliant new album I Am Easy To Find. The band’s main performers and backing vocalists/musicians filled the downstairs stage to the brim, and hearing selections from the National’s best album in years was a great way to start a Thursday … Upstairs brought a trio of new awesomeness. Lula Wiles delivered stunning folk harmonies. Orville Peck haunted with country Roy Orbison melodies. And Mattiel wowed with indie-rock precision … Downstairs brought a bounty of established greatness. Amanda Palmer wasted no time in talking about abortion with songs timely, depressing, empowering and uniquely her. Rodrigo y Gabriela brought powerhouse guitar mastery to a stunned crowd. And KT Tunstall delivered the most pure-fun rock set of the convention, capping off a phenomenal day.
Lizzo delivered an unannounced two-song set that despite its brevity will not soon be forgotten. And newcomer Jade Jackson ended NON-COMM with a brilliant country set that reminded all convention attendees how diverse and wonderful this event truly is.