Hood To Hood Ballard: The Maldives

photos by Brittney Bollay and Dave Lichterman

It’s 4pm in Seattle and as more booths around the stage gets set-up, more and more families pile in to catch a glimpse of the next band to play during KEXP’s live Ballard Day broadcast for Hood to Hood 2012.

In Seattle, The Maldives need no introduction.  They’ve been playing sold out shows in the area for years, including two more sold out dates at the Tractor Tavern last week. The alt-country veterans appeared on King 5 in February to raise money for homeless shelters as part of Gimme Shelter. Their 2009 release Listen To The Thunder was one of the best records of the year. In short, The Maldives have given and received love in Seattle for many years, and their appearance at Hood To Hood to play a free show shouldn’t surprise anyone.  The Maldives take country back to its roots, focusing on strong storytelling and songwriting, while bringing forth a strong and rich sound. With gorgeous steel-pedal guitar and warm harmonies, The Maldives’ live show is inviting and addictive. There’s no mystery in why their fans continue to return time after time.

As their set progressed, it is clear that they garnered even more fans with their smooth sounds and relaxing alt-country folk.  It was a old fashioned country ho-down, but make no mistake:  The Maldives are also known for switching gears at a whim.  During their closing number, “Blood Relations,” the song became a epic jamband feast for those involved:  amidst the usually overpowering guitar riffs, you can hear the usually reserved banjo player erupt with equal voracity.  Even the guitarist from My Goodness! was found schmoozing and rocking out with the crowdgoers.

Check out the setlist photos here and stay tuned for Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band live from Bergen Place Park in Ballard at 530PM!

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