The sultry sound of Life on Mars lured me upstairs. Beer Dock’s stripped-back upper deck was the venue. Low light, live music and craft beer was on the Monday night menu in Crewe.

Everyone’s jumped aboard the David Bowie bandwagon of late, but this was different. This was a heavenly, chilled-out version that the recently passed maestro would have been delighted to endorse.

And what a name to open the evening! Affonso and Shears  (Megan and Daniel) weave together classical, rock and quirky without breaking sweat. Music to tap your foot, make you think and smile. Predominantly covers (tripping memories of Nouvelle Vague in my mind), they also pen some classy original work.

The Acoustic Sessions initiative is a wonderful partnership between Warble Entertainment and a number of venues – tonight being Crewe’s magnificent bottled beer emporium. The agency boasts an eclectic stable of acts; musicians, fire eaters, general entertainers, cartoonists and actors.

Tonight music stole the limelight. The recorded sessions switch from controlled studio sets to raw, out in the open fire pits where audiences call the tune. Thankfully, Monday night was sedate.

Affonso & Shears‘ slot ended with a cute and perky Jackson Five number. It was upbeat, clever, perfect to showcase the range of material that the duo can perform. And that’s the point; it’s a platform for decent musicians to put their name (and work) out there, keeping the audience on board with top-notch covers, but free to air their own songs to willing listeners.

Adam-McCulloch

Adam McCulloch picked up the baton after a brief interval. Another fine exponent of chart favourites (usually with the We Have You Covered band, above), he slipped effortlessly between Spice Girls and Justin Bieber. Wow! Music purists will be shuddering, but like a cunning magician there was a glorious Fleetwood Mac track up his sleeve, a drop of James Bay and another Bowie track also in his locker to leave everyone in no doubt that he could play – and sing.

And then some. That Adam rapped Beyonce’s Crazy In Love into Let’s Dance was ludicrous, inspired, outrageous and brilliant. He even accepted my on-the-hoof request for Teenage Kicks and capped a stellar performance with a John Denver track. A man for all seasons and genres.

So what is Beer Dock?

I left that to first-timer, Sophie, who sat loving the music and lapping up the beer. “It’s such a hidden gem,” was her answer. Short, concise and to the point. I really don’t know how to label this bar-cum-bottle-boutique. I just love it.

The Monday night music is a very welcome addition to an already clever formula.

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