Written By: Elise Arsenault
Photos by Jay Jillard
Meet Dan Taylor, frontman of Adelaide
Adelaide played their first show at their friends’ record release party last May. Less than a year later, they invited the same musical friends to perform at their own release at Club Absinthe (on King William street) last Saturday, March 10.
The event hosted three acts, over 160 attendees, 75 sleek EPs, dozens of drinks, and one massive cake devoured near the end of the show and daylight-savings’ time change.
One of its two openers was pop-rock band Mount Farewell. Their EP release marked Adelaide’s debut last year, and their drummer, Adam Thurston, has been friends with Adelaide’s lead vocalist Dan Taylor since high school.
The crowd crept closer to the stage throughout their set, dancing to slick guitar licks, synthesized swells, and melodic singing. And if that didn’t win them over, the band’s sultry cover of Drake’s “Just Hold on, We’re Going Home” certainly did.
When Adelaide mounted the stage, the audience was ripe for catchy anthems. The four-piece, alt-rock band is made up of singer/guitarist Dan Taylor, lead guitarist Ben Rudy, bassist Adam Peters, and drummer Matt Reynolds.
Lyrically, their songs tell honest stories with memorable refrains; fans sang along to choruses by their second time around. Sonically, their instrumentation channels the likes of Arkells, Coldplay, and John Mayer with thrilling riffs, rousing rhythm, and a whole whack of energy.
Taylor first met Rudy playing at a winter retreat two years ago, and the duo teamed up for restaurant and wedding gigs in the summer.
“Right off the bat we were playing music together,” explains Taylor. “That led to wanting to do it more and more, and us dreaming together. I’m a planner—a real organized person—but he’s a dreamer. I give him credit for that.
“He thought we could be the next Coldplay overnight, kind of thing. It was unrealistic, but it kind of re-sparked a dream that I had of doing music seriously.” That’s when Taylor left his stable nine-to-five position in digital marketing, teamed up with Rudy, recruited Reynolds and eventually found a bassist in Peters—who, in Taylors words, is “actually a better guitar player than I am. He just really wanted to be in the band and was willing to play bass!”
Once the quartet was complete, the grind began. And while musical talent is invaluable to the process, Taylor emphasizes the team’s sense of commitment.
“It’s about finding people who are willing to commit to something where you’re not going to get paid, it’s long term, and it’s going to be a grind—that’s where we’re at right now.
“Lifestyle is important too,” he adds. “We didn’t want someone who, at shows, was going to be off doing weird stuff while we weren’t. Or, if we ever go on tour, would be bringing girls back. It’s not our style; we wanted to make that intentional from the start.”
Taylor has been playing music since the age of twelve, when a knee injury pulled him from football season and a guitar under the Christmas tree beckoned him to play. More than just a hobby, music became a source of consistency in the midst of his family’s frequent moving.
“Wherever I was going, I was taking music with me,” he recounts. “It had stuck well enough for me to bring it with me, so I did.”
Taylor first started writing songs two summers ago, and completed his first one by the fall. Entitled “Long Time Coming,” it appears third on the six-track EP, Where You Go—now available on all major platforms. He’d penned it sitting on a mattress in a student room while visiting Dalhousie University in Halifax.
“It was perfect!” He says. “A mattress on the floor, my guitar, and a notebook was all I had. There’s not clutter, and an open room with lots of reverb.”
Once he pocketed more originals and had the boys add to it, the group kicked off with Mount Farewell at Hamilton’s Gasworks last May, where their network of friends and family couldn’t get enough.
“They wanted our songs in their hands,” says Taylor, “so we started thinking about recording. The least we could do was put out a single.” Which they did last September with debut single “Can’t Lose.” They then recorded Where You Go in the basement of fellow Burlington band, Valley.
“Somehow they wanted to work with us for a good price and be our friends. We’re so fortunate to have them, and they did a great job on the EP.”
Adelaide pulled Valley members Mike Branolino and Alex DiMauro onstage the night of the release, handing them a shaker and a tambourine.
“They didn’t want to come up!” Taylor recalls, laughing. “Ben went over and dragged them onstage.” Mount Farewell’s four members, too, were hauled back into the spotlight when the audience demanded an encore and Adelaide whipped out a cover of the Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.”
“We didn’t plan on an encore,” he admits. “But we’d done a three-hour cover gig the week before so had back-pocket songs like nobody’s business. It was fully, fully spontaneous and getting those guys onstage was fun. They were a hoot.”
Another hit was Mermaids Exist, the five-piece band Taylor heard online and booked to start the show. Led by brothers Geoffrey and Jason Hopkins, the group wooed the audience with strong musicality and convincing invitations to sing along.
Choosing Club Absinthe, too, was a no-brainer. Having performed there twice before, Adelaide established a good relationship with the staff. The first time around, the venue made enough profit off the night to wave Adelaide’s fee for the space, so the bands had ticket sales to themselves.
“They were happy to have us back, and we thought what better place to celebrate than at a venue that supports us too?”
The support of the audience as a whole was evident. The band was surprised by the turnout, seeing as 60 people had bought tickets online by the night before the show. “But with whatever the heck happened,” says Taylor, “we made it to almost 170 people there.”
“We had the time of our lives,” he adds on behalf of the band. “I got to jump around on stage and play my songs, of course, but it was more fulfilling in the sense of feeling the support, hearing people sing your songs, having people stay out that late for you, someone bringing a cake for you, and knowing that that was a memorable night for other people.”
Moreover, the band recognizes the statement of their year-long process for those who’ve witnessed it.
“I know for a fact that some of my friends have told myself, or some of the other guys in the band, that watching us do what we’re doing, at the pace that we’re doing it over the past year, has been inspiring for other people.
“There was pure joy throughout the entire room. It has less to do with the songs than it does with the relationships with the people that we have, and the statement that we’re making about making things happen for yourself. I think that was the joy in the room.” The joy manifested in more dancing, friends coaxed onstage, a spirited encore, platefuls of cake, and celebratory merch sales.
“It’s a platform, right?” Taylor concludes. “It’s an honour to be on the stage in front of people and have a microphone. We’re the lucky ones. We don’t take it for granted at all.”