WXPN hosted the 14th annual Non-Commvention at World Cafe Live last week. It’s sort of a semi-private SXSW for non-commercial radio programmers. Besides panels, networking stuff and lots of liquid lunches, the convention also features a lot of short sets by both veteran artists and newbies trying to get noticed. The Both (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo) cracked jokes while delivering a lunchtime set of songs from their impressive first album as a duo, including “Milwaukee” for which the group filmed a video for in Philadelphia. Hamilton Leithauser (formerly of The Walkmen) played an rollicking set of his angsty roots-rock from his forthcoming album with a large band that included a string quartet. Norah Jones ditched the piano and picked up the gee-tar for her set with all-femme trio Puss N Boots, delivering some jaw-dropping fretwork on the band’s cover of Neil Young’s “Down By The River.” The reunited Afghan Whigs gave one of the best performances of the convention with a raucous and sweaty forty-minute set heavy on material from their new album Do The Beast, including a stunning electric version of “Algiers” and a swinging, primal mash-up of their “I Am Fire” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk.” Youth was not to be ignored though, with less established artists delivering some of the best moments of the convention. Young and pint-sized powerhouse Lydia Loveless and her band rocked the crowd with her mix of punk and country, decked out in bowler hat and little white wedding dress. Jessica Lea Mayfield dazzled the crowd with her vocals and tremolo drenched fuzzed out guitar playing on songs from her excellent Make My Head Sing album.Young NYC punks Parquet Courts delivered a frantic late-night set with a style that melded the riffs and virtuosity of Wire with the velocity of The Ramones. Swedish artsy-pop diva Lykke Li and her band delivered a spectacularly soulful set including a spellbinding “Love Me Like I’m Not Made Of Stone.” Hard-charging Philadelphia four-piece Strand Of Oaks obliterated the rest of the field on the last night of the convention though. They delivered the best set of the three days, blasting out an electrifying twenty minute hail of passionate guitar and keys led by frontman Tim Showalter, who performed like a young Springsteen blessed with Tom Verlaine’s hands and hopped up on a case of Redbull. One crowd member said their set blew the top off her head. I would’ve agreed but I was too busy looking for mine. — PETE TROSHAK