-Report from The Randy Bee At Non-Comm In Wilmington DE.

The final day of this 3 day convention of Non-commercial radio stations, music journalists, labels, and artists started off with a “blind taste test” new release sampling. Led by Jim De Rogatis and Greg Kot of NPR’s “Sound Opinions” radio show, this informal and fun meeting featured snippets of songs by artists that are both new and well known such as Bon Iver and Gillian Welch. Audience members gave the songs a number rating ala olympic figure skating. Participants then gave their opinions when called upon by a show of hands. De Rogatis and Kots kept things upbeat and some of the most insightful reviews came from XPN DJ Dan Reed’s son Max. I found it interesting how a tune from the new Bon Iver release recieved both tens and ones. There were certainly a wide range of tastes represented at the convention!

The finale of this year’s convention was the Free At Noon show featuring Sam Roberts and Alt-Country stalwarts The Jayhawks. Roberts, from Montreal, is a major star in his homeland north of the border. One can only wonder why he isn’t more well known in these parts considering the way he rocked the house that day! The Jayhawks, featuring the original line-up, played songs off their upcoming record and were a fitting ending to this mostly AAA radio get together.

The big star of the convention for me was the new World Cafe Live at the refurbished Queen Theatre. It is as magnificent venue with great sound. Though the surrounding neighborhood has some catching up to do. This place will be an asset to Wilmington for years to come!

Below are pictures from XPN’s NON COMMvention on Friday May 20th. Pictures by TSI’s Don McGurrin