Two pronged attack pushes Newcastle’s button
A queue had formed hours before Switches even set foot in Newcastle’s legendary RPM Records store, and now they’re here, dedicated fans clutch limited-edition singles chant along to every word that emanates from sneering singer Matt Bishop’s mouth. The adulation is not undeserved; the Weezer-esque harmonies of ‘Snakes And Ladders’ almost charm the roof off the shop, and in their rabid enthusiasm the audience happily forfeit the ability to breathe. It’s Switchesmania.
Several bottles of wine later, the band prepare to take the big stage. Oozing glamour while juggling typically English Elastica-ted guitar riffs with chugging, West Coast power-pop, Switches are, sonically, a world away from their peers. The appeal of this band is obvious; scientists could sweat night and day in laboratories and not refine rock’n’roll into three minutes like these Southend upstarts do. ‘Drama Queen’ is a song that runs rings around The Vines and makes Supergrass look lethargic, while B-side, ‘Right/Wrong’, sits Blur down to explain the word ‘jaunty’.
The adrenaline is infectious, the man operating the smoke machine has clearly been hammering the bar, and the followers are loving it. For a moment the band look touchingly overwhelmed. Triumphantly, they stomp through a fierce ‘Lay Down The Law’ and it becomes apparent it was more than spectacular brogues that drew Graham Coxon to them last year. It won’t be long before the impression left on this room spreads round the country faster than news of a turkey with a sniffle.