All-girl garage rockers, The Franklys, return to the Barfly on their Bad News summer tour before Tramlines Festival followed by dates in Germany and France.

Having heard great things about the London-based all-girl band, The Franklys, it was good to finally get a chance to see them at the recent Camden Rocks Festival – and I kicked myself for not having made more of an effort to see them before. But this was a not-to-be-missed opportunity as they were playing a favourite Camden venue – the Barfly with its hot, sweaty, just seedy enough atmosphere to create the right underground feel for their brand of punk, garage rock.

With no warm-up band, the Franklys kicked off the night at 11 pm to a crowd already settled into chatting and drinking near the bar. As the girls launched into the opening chords of the title track from their new EP, the rocking, riff-driven “Bad News,” the crowd edged closer to the stage. It wasn’t long before the crowd was moving and banging their heads to the music.

The Franklys create a wall of adrenaline-inducing sound; grungy, raw, and punk-tinged. With their 70s’ retro groove and speed-fuelled grittiness, these girls would have been at home playing on the same bill as the Ramones at CBGBs 40 years ago!

Nicole, their American hard-hitting drummer, provides a strong backbone for the rhythm section, ably aided and abetted by partner-in-crime, bassist Zoë, with her deep, heavy bass lines, never better illustrated than on the intro to “What You Said.” This heavy rocking engine is beautifully balanced by Jennifer’s melodic vocals. On the dark and catchy “My Love” and the moody “Long Way,” her cool presence and impassioned vocals are reminiscent of Siouxsie Sioux. And even through the rockier numbers, her voice retains its melodic quality. This is a band of two front women: Jennifer’s performance is equalled by her Swedish band mate, Fanny, on lead guitar. Fanny may appear petite and almost doll-like, but she wields her Höfner, almost as big as she is, to produce searing guitar sounds and mesmerising riffs – from fuzzy and catchy stoner rock to almost psychedelic 60s’ surfing riffs on “Puppet.”

This “girl-band” are up there with their male counterparts, their ballsy, energetic live show and no-nonsense, bullshit-free lyrics, written and sung by their frontwoman, Jennifer, based on her real-life experiences. As band mate, Fanny, says, “… if she sings something… she f**king means it!” Their gutsy, no-holds-barred and gritty performance, meshed with a touch of femininity and girl power ensures a show that’s a pleaser for both the guys and the girls in the crowd.

Comparisons with fellow Swedish garage rockers, The Hives, are inevitable. But there appear to be a myriad of different influences here; sounds reminiscent of Siouxie and the Banshees, the Runaways, the Buzzcocks, and even the raw energy of the Cramps here – just what you’d expect from a band comprising two Swedish, one American, and one English musician with diverse cultures and influences of their own. The resulting sound is quite unique, yet everyone seems to hear and see something different in their songs.

Sadly, the performance was brought to a rude and abrupt end before the set was complete due to timing issues, leaving the crowd bewildered as the Franklys put down their instruments. The crowd shouted for more but quickly realised that this was going to be futile.

It was a short but energy-packed performance, but what we saw was four girls, brought together by their love and enthusiasm of the bands and music they grew up with and who clearly have fun playing together. So, for a great night of kickass rock n’ roll, check out the Franklys’ future tour dates and make a point of going now – don’t make the mistake of waiting as long as I did!

Our photographer, Eric Duvet, was on hand to capture images from the show.

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