Wheelman Roundup: Stornoway @ Schubas, plus MTRPLS in West Loop.

Stornoway @ Schubas

I like a guy who holds his guitar up high. Brian Briggs is one of those, certainly; the nattily attired, well-spoken (and sung) headmaster of Oxford, England combo Stornoway had his black acoustic guitar tucked into the crook of his arm for the entirety of the band’s Chicago debut Sunday night at Lakeview fave (and Metropolis getter) Schuba’s, and it was a look befitting their well-appointed sound.

Maybe it was Briggs’ clipped drawl on the mic, or the way his pals would join in at nearly every turn with a harmony or second vocal, right around the point when the sound went from intelligent folk music to raucous swing, like a band of buskers who happen to also be first chair reps in the local symphony. Maybe it was the numerous moments of trumpet, violin, cello (!), or all three. Or maybe it was Stornoway’s apparently innate ability to channel the entire scope of buttoned-down pop made by dudes who aren’t American. But there were a lot of times when Briggs and his pals sounded like the Housemartins playing Crowded House covers in Andy Partridge’s belfry. And this wasn’t a bad thing at all. Let’s hear it for the high guitar holders.

Metropolis in the West Loop

Sometimes people stop me on the street when I have the hand truck out of the back of the Sprinter. Sometimes they flag down the Sprinter itself. (Gutsy!) But the question is often the same: “Hey man, where do I get Metropolis coffee in the West Loop?” You know the West Loop. It’s that stretch of restaurants smashed between meat packing houses, loading docks, and pricey condos. And while we hit Mac & Min’s on Madison, if you’re not in the mood for a po’boy, you can also find Metropolis at the Morgan Street Cafe. The friendly spot rocks all kinds of local flavor — our coffee, plus pastries, sandwiches, sandwiches and other treats. And check out the decor in these shots. How are you going to check a Starbucks when there’s a place with graffiti like this on the inside?

-JTL

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