If you haven’t heard of Philadelphia-based alternative band RFA, I highly suggest becoming familiar with them while they are still a primarily local band. Personally, I sometimes have a difficult time enjoying a show when I do not have much knowledge on the band or their songs. However, this was not the case for me when attending RFA’s recent show at PhilaMOCA.
All four members are college students in the Philly area: Alec Powell (percussion) attends school at Temple University, Christian Turzo (guitar) attends University of Pennsylvania and Brendan McHale (bass and backing vocals), along with lead vocalist and guitarist Dan Cousart, are both in the Music Industry Program here at Drexel University. Although they each may still have a year of school left, they have been using their time wisely as they conquer the Philly rock scene.
Together, they craft a sophisticated yet edgy rock ‘n’ roll sound full of energy, supported by catchy and relatable lyrics. This sound strikes me as an interesting yet delightful combination of Kings of Leon and Arctic Monkeys. To put it simply, RFA has enormous potential written all over them.
The band took over the PhilaMOCA May 31 to headline a show with support from Michigan indie rock band Coax and local vintage grunge band Dear Forbidden. Coax and Dear Forbidden started the night off on a strong note with refreshing indie rock vibes, but it wasn’t until RFA took the stage that the energy in the crowd raced to a high.
They started out with “I’m Not Telling You,” one of the tracks on their second EP, “Something New From RFA.” This playful song quickly had the crowd rocking out, dancing and singing along to the catchy chorus. After this, Cousart took a moment to introduce the band and the others gave shout-outs to friends in the audience. They then continued with another upbeat song, “What’s Your Name.”
RFA didn’t hesitate to express their energetic aura throughout their set, especially when they began their most popular track, “Teenage Love Song,” which was released on their first EP, “Freaking Out.” This track has almost 100,000 plays on Spotify, and is definitely one of those songs that is constantly running through your head.
The four of them went crazy, spazzing out during the guitar riffs that came after the chorus, and Turzo on electric guitar slayed his solo in the bridge. After this, they slowed it down by covering a Beatles classic, “Ticket to Ride,” which had everyone enthralled. As they continued to play songs released on their EPs, the last few songs were some of their favorites and new releases.
“Freaking Out,” their second most popular song, gives off more of a moderate rock vibe, as the song begins with Cousart and McHale whistling the main melodic motif in unison. The carefree approach to this track contradicts the title in an interesting way, which really showed in their performance. To end the set, they played their most recent release, “Suzie Lee.” This is the kind of song that could easily be a big radio hit. It exemplifies all of the qualities of a classic rock song, as the addictive beat is outlined by the guitar parts and consistent upbeat drums throughout the song. Not to mention, Cousart’s vocal control and projection in the choruses were exceptional live.
Overall, the band put on quite a show, exceeding my expectations. They all stayed in sync consistently, while nailing every single song with an incredible amount of energy. Another big factor in RFA’s performance was their ability to showcase the invigorating personality they contain altogether while up on the stage, making it difficult not to be entertained or to enjoy the music.
I’m not the first person to say that I believe this band has quite a bright future ahead of them. If you’re looking to see them live, they will be playing in Philly June 17 at MilkBoy. I know I will definitely be there to see them again.