The Black Friars Social Club is a dark-flavored, vibey scene. Faulkner meets Bukowski stories wrapped around Lynchian haunting melodies.
Front-man Mark Panick pens songs that mix the beautiful with the darkly disturbing, approximating a sound that ranges from gothic—think Nick Cave or Tom Waits gothic to bent chamber-pop to country murder ballads.” Chicagoist
Panick takes inspiration from a diverse spectrum of musical forbearers--the Ink Spots, Tom Waits, Merle Haggard, the Kinks, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Alex Harvey to name just a few. He also taps other mediums in search of “tools for thinking,” including the works of filmmaker Alejandro Jordorowsky, painter Mark Ryden and philosopher Daniel C. Dennett.
THE GERALD DOWD BAND
"...hook-heavy, cleverly crafted tunes....with humor and catchy melodies, influenced by everything from country to rock to R&B, all tied together with a great pop sensibility."
— No Depression
Melodies rule (Home Now), and many moments are flush with acoustic instruments and multiple harmony work that reflects the warmer, earlier period of the Band."
— Chicago Sun-Times
Gerald Dowd has been described as “the hardest working drummer in Chicago” (Richard Milne, WXRT), playing on over 100 albums, and averaging 150 live dates a year around the world. In recent years, he's been releasing solo albums of original material, starting with his 2012 release, Kingsize EP. In 2014, he was the recipient of an IAP arts grant from Chicago's Dept. Of Cultural Affairs/Special Events (DCASE), which led to his first full-length solo album, Home Now, produced by Grammy-nominated producer Liam Davis, and featuring, among others, Chicago legends Robbie Fulks and Nora O'Connor. To celebrate the release, he held a benefit concert at which he played for 13 hours straight with 16 different bands, raising over $10,000 for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.
Mr. Dowd's longest post has been with alt-country godfather Robbie Fulks, with whom he has recorded, and played nationally and overseas, since 2000. Since 2006, Mr. Dowd has also been a member of a group founded by one of the creators of 'kindie rock': Justin Roberts and the Not-Ready-For-Naptime Players. They play shows all across North America, Canada and Asia, and three of the band's most recent albums -- Lemonade (2018), Recess (2013) and Jungle Gym (2010) -- were nominated for a Grammy Award.
As a solo artist, Mr. Dowd has shared stages with Jeff Tweedy, Ian Hunter, Rhett Miller, Kasey Chambers, Sam Baker and Mr. Fulks. He has also performed and/or recorded with Garrison Keillor and A Prairie Home Companion, Chris Mills, Frisbie, Nora O’Connor, Kelly Hogan, Edith Frost, Lush Budgett, Dave Ramont, Dick Smith, Dave Sills, Lloyd Green, Dennis Crouch, Peter Himmelman, Alphonso Ponticelli and Swing Gitan, 500Clown Theater Company, Neko Case, Lloyd Maines, Andrew Bird, EXO, Steve Albini, Mavis Staples, George Jones, Buck Owens, Tina Fey, Syd Straw, Marshall Crenshaw, Rhymefest, Rich Little, Otis Clay, Catie Curtis, Pinetop Seven, Richie Cole, and Arturo Sandoval, among many others.