The Rocks Off 200: Southerland Nights, an Army of Accolades

Welcome to The Rocks Off 200, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See previous entries in the Rocks Off 100 at this link.

Photos courtesy of Southerland Nights
Who? If you haven't heard all that much about Southerland Nights, it could be because they've been out building their fanbase somewhere far away from Houston. In the two years and change these five young men have been making music together, they've accumulated more than 11,000 likes on Facebook and 7,700 Twitter followers, no small potatoes in these parts. In August they'll hit the road for an East Coast tour that will bring Southerland Nights to hotspots like Huntington, W.Va.; Ardmore, Pa.; and Jamaica Plain, Mass.; but also Brooklyn, Syracuse and Rochester, N.Y.

Last October the quintet released debut EP Destroy Something Beautiful, which covers a lot of territory in just five songs, energetically mingling pop-punk, modern rock, industrial lite and even a little EDM -- it's a little all over the place, but pretty damn catchy for a Houston band. It's definitely a swinging-for-the-fences kind of sound, and Southerland Nights has the ambition to back it up. (They're another band that basically cold-called us to write about them; we keep telling y'all it works.)

Besides themselves, Southerland Nights draws support from their self-proclaimed street team, whom they've also dubbed "The Accolade." Actually, "we prefer 'Family' since most of us are on a first-name basis," explains the group's Adam Elara. "We totally embody the DIY work ethic; you'll see us all over town handing out CD's and fliers that we made ourselves to get the word out about the band. In fact, if you skipped work or school to catch the Vans Warped Tour's Houston stop this past Friday, you might have done just that.

Home Base: "Well, we all live in Houston and we have a studio that we record and rehearse at throughout the week to work on new material and our live show," Elara says. "We haven't played many shows in Houston. We played one local gig and then we were literally touring the next day after our second Houston show."

Good War Story: Heading home from their first tour, Southerland Nights had just played a show in Nashville, Elara relates. It was 3 a.m.

Up until this point we had no problems whatsoever with our van and trailer. All of a sudden we hear a loud bang come from the back of the van. Stephen [Adwell] looked in the rear mirror and he saw sparks flying. So we pulled over, thinking we had hit something.

As it turns out, the wheel to the trailer had gone missing! We were stuck in this ridiculously small town in Mississippi with a population of only 700. The only guy in town that owned a tire shop was in the hospital. We had to unhitch the trailer and two of us had to stay outside to guard it, while it was conveniently four degrees outside.

We're a bunch of Texas boys, freezing our butts off trying to make sure no one stole our gear. The rest of the guys had to go to the next town over, which was about 30 miles away, to try to find a tire. This whole fiasco ended up being an eight-hour detour. We were just glad it happened on our way home and not in the middle of the tour.

Why Do You Stay In Houston? Right now it makes the most sense," Elara reasons. "Most places where artists move are oversaturated with too many people trying to do the same thing. Over here we noticed a gap in what we are trying to accomplish, which really helps us stand out. We've been fortunate enough to have good reception for what we're trying to do so far out here."

Story continues on the next page.

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