This afternoon Live Nation announced that Mumford & Sons, the UK acoustic-rock quartet that has already, um, borrowed more than one page from U2's playbook -- the anthemic songs, Old Testament imagery, missionary zeal and sometimes overwhelming earnestness -- will make its Houston-area debut somewhere U2 has never played: Wednesday, June 12, at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.
Unless we are grossly mistaken, the Mumfords, actually front man Marcus Mumford and his three London mates, have never been to Houston before. They have been to SXSW (of course), and then to Marfa on the first Railroad Revival tour alongside Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, but the only time we've ever heard tell of Mumford in Houston is Under the Volcano and Leon's Lounge owner Pete Mitchell adding debut album Sigh No More to the Volcano jukebox long before anyone else had even heard of them.
Eventually Sigh single "The Cave" crossed over from AAA radio to Top 40, and began the banjo-driven acoustic revival that has also lifted the careers of folk-ish groups such as Lumineers, The Civil Wars and Of Monsters and Men, and which acerbic blogs such as Hipster Runoff see as a po-faced ploy worthy of the memorable term "Civil War Wave." Second album Babel is the reigning Grammy Album of the Year, and the Mumfords are currently on the cover of Rolling Stone.
Say what you will, one thing you have to hand the Mumfords is their impeccable taste, which extends from the group's influences -- the band anchored the recent Grammy tribute to the late Levon Helm, alongside Zac Brown, Mavis Staples and the Alabama Shakes' Brittany Howard -- to their choice of openers. Michael Kiwanuka, the London-based singer-songwriter who drew all sorts of raves for his 2012 debut album Home Again. will be opening for the Mumfords this summer. If you dig Jimmy Cliff, you'll like this guy too.
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The presale honors this time do not go to a corporate sponsor -- even U2 doesn't do that anymore -- only this link at the Mumfords' Web site. Tickets go on sale to the general public noon Friday, April 5, through the usual channels, we imagine. Looking your way, Ticketmaster.