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

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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.

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.

Music Scene Pet Peeve: "A lot of people are scared of being different, which results in bands not developing or growing their sound," Elara says. "We always try to do new things and find new ideas to constantly reinvent ourselves. Also, we're not fans of big egos, we just like to play music and have a great time. I never really understood why people can't grasp that concept, there's no need to be rude to other people."

Five Desert Island Discs:

  • Between the Buried and Me, Colors
  • The Neighbourhood, I Love You
  • Radwimps , 4
  • Explosions In the Sky, The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place
  • Various Artists, "Stephen's Mix CD of His Favorite Songs"

Best Concert You Ever Saw: Les Claypool, House of Blues, 4/20/2010 -- "Claypool had an excellent stage presence, and changed basses as many times as he changed animal heads," Elara recalls. "The overall musicianship from both Claypool and the other musicians in his band was astounding, as they played songs from his solo albums to Primus classics and even two Rush covers for the encore."

First Song You Fell In Love With: "We all pretty much fell in love with the soundtrack of Tony Hawk Pro Skater on Playstation 1," he says. "It was a great game and had amazing songs that had us discovering a lot of music afterwards."

Catch Southerland Nights opening for Houston's Otenki Friday, July 18 at Fitzgerald's and at Scout Bar in Clear Lake Sunday, August 3.

See the rest of The Rocks Off 200, and a link to The Rocks Off 100, on the next page.


Stacy Hartoon, Rudz's Punk-Rock Heir Apparent Bowen Lyons, Keeper of the Trimms' Groove Chris Gore, Electronica Guru of BLSHS John Alton, the Madness of Cosmic Bug Loaf Reko Trill, of the Almighty Trill Brothers Jo Bird, Bow-Caster of Fiddle Witch & the Demons of Doom DJ Nando1, Who Fights to Keep the Party Poppin' Randall Hopkins, Featherface Drummer and Brilliant Video Director Roby Deaton, Open-Mike Pocket of Cool Nosaprise, Hurrah! for the Blushing Bridegroom Tony Vega, the Big Easy's Barnburner Leslie Krafka, Onward Through the Fog Michael Anthony Shanks, Houston's Merry Shankster DJ Baby Roo, Vegetarian Hip-Hop Veteran Rachel Bays, Filming Them Softly Punk-Rock "Newcomers" Screech of Death Erin Rodgers, the Keys to Glass the Sky Alex LaRotta, Crate-Digging Fistful of Soul Brother Alycia Miles, Triumphant Soul Singer DJ Piam, Poison Girl's Bacon-Fat Funk Specialist Mister Insane, Host of The Insane Show Jake Rawls -- Kemo For Emo Is Back Santos Pastrana, Sound Engineer and DJ Ninja Heading Upstream with RIVERS' Chris Tamez DJ Dayta, Keeper of That Good Good Matthew Davis Buehrer, Runaway Sun's Globally Thinking Bassist Fat Tony, Third Ward to "BKNY" Noon, Rapper With a Lot on His Mind Matt Cash, Clear Lake's Cassette Tape Wailer Jason Smith, Alkari's Space City Rocker DJ Penetrate, All Lit Up in "Neon Lights" Catch Fever Is Catching On Renée Jonard, Princess of Noise Pollution Junior Gordon, Big Man With a Big Sound Chad Smalley, Blaggards' Barse Player Damien Randle, K-OTIX Man of Action Kevin Anthony, 45 Southbound Man DJ Good Grief Knows How to Have Fun Robert Kuhn, the Well-Traveled Islander Gunnar Cushway, Insko's Feel-Good Utilityman Mario Rodriguez, Tax the Wolf/Bang Bangz's Wonky Power Monger John Smith, Goodtime Continental Club Manager Dwayne Cathey, A Good Man to Scare People With Walter Carlos, Guitar-Punisher of Funeral Horse Ryan James, Putting Up a Good Fight John Cramer, Guitar Apostle of Project Grimm Big Gerb, Houston's Hongree-est MC Steven Higginbotham, Hard-Working Wheel Worker Alisha Pattillo & Her Swaggering, Soulful Sax Brandon Ray, Punk Rocker Turned Filmmaker/Animator The Excitable Boys of Another Run Flash Gordon Parks, DJ as Funky Professor DJ Main Event, Kratez Crew JumpOff Man Odd Hours and Back to Back's Hank Doyle Legendary K-OTIX Producer Russel "The ARE" Gonzalez Dylan Bryson Sings the Blues (Rock) DJ Damon Allen, R.O.C.O. Fellow Tom Lynch, New Kid On the Block Ashley Worhol, Goth-Metal Queen of Katy Joe Ortiz, Clockpole's Master of Nonsense Marzi Montazeri, the Man Dimebag Darrell Called a Bad Motherfucker John Salinas, the Beat Beast of Only Beast Homegrown Cowboy Crooner Charles Peters Adam Bricks, NYC Expat Metal Journeyman and Blasé Bassist Alan Hilton Kyra Noons, Houston's Reggae Sunsplash DJ AudiTory, the Maestro of LuvItMane The Nephilim Terror's Death-Metal Growler Danny Carroll Tommy Grindle, Guitarist of Square and Compass The Bailout Bureau's Mysterious "Bob Bovary" DJ Twinkle-Toes, Won a "Dick-Measuring Vinyl Orgy" With Two iPods Beanz N Kornbread, Gmail-Loving Production Duo You(genious), Party Crasher Turned Musical Auteur Daniel Alexander, Klein's Backyard MC



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