NON-COMM 2017 in Philadelphia. Photo: Joe Mongan.

Magical Moments at the 17th Annual NON-COMMvention

The array of performers in support of non-commercial radio is in excellent hands – and  hearts and minds and voices – as 28 bands descended upon the city of Philadelphia to celebrate the music and each brought their own unique sound, perspective, and magic.

There is hardly room to review 28 bands here and since a simple google search will reveal the names of this year’s performers, I won’t even mention all of them.  I will say that I will be making plans to try and see just about every one again at some time in the near future.

Check out our recap of the event and learn a bit more about why NON-COMM 2017 was such a special event.

Highlights were many and varied.  Certainly having Blondie performing the first night  was a sheer treat.  Deborah Harry absolutely rocks!  Her voice is as powerful and controlled as it has ever been and I felt transported back at least two decades watching her perform.

Deborah Harry of Blondie at NON-COMM 2017. Photo: Joe Mongan.
Deborah Harry of Blondie at NON-COMM 2017. Photo: Joe Mongan.

The second night, however, was the highlight of the week for me.  Mondo Cosmo was as entertaining a half-hour as I can remember and Laura Marling’s voice can only be described as angelic or therapeutic or soul-searching, well, you probably get the point.  But the most memorable part for me had to be the three sisters from Stockholm, Sweden known as Baskery.

Upbeat does not even begin to describe the energy and charisma displayed by this trio composed of Greta, Stella and Sunniva Bondesson.  All are talented singers and play multiple instruments – sometimes simultaneously.

When this band introduced themselves as being from Sweden I thought it was some sort of sexist joke in reverse.  As in where else would three attractive blondes be from.  They seem as American as the proverbial apple pie in both speech and mannerisms.  And when Greta, who played the drums, banjo, guitar, and harmonica, dedicated their song, “Throw a Bone” to the late Chris Cornell I was even more convinced of their American heritage.  Greta said, “It’s a sad day, waking up to that news.  He was a rock guy to the bone and had one of the most amazing voices in modern music.”  But alas, when they broke into an 18th Century drinking song in perfect Swedish harmony I had to admit that they are indeed from the land of the little red fish.  If it’s not apparent, I could be a groupie for this band but not because of the way they look – my wife would kill me – but because of the way they play.

Of course, not knowing which part of the world a particular group is from is just more proof that music blurs the lines of nationalism and is a universal force capable of doing wondrous things.  At least that is the wish.

The third day continued the all-out assault of delight to the musical senses.  From the soulful twang of Hurray for the Riff Raff to the gritty rock of the Growlers to the absolute beauty of ALA.Ni, the entire day was a joy.  When it was all over I felt musically satiated perhaps for the first time.

However, it did not stop me from already looking forward to the 18th annual.

Rock on!
Wildwood Joe

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