When the Going Gets Gold | Music | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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When the Going Gets Gold

Gold Blood Collective's multi-faceted business model keeps them alive in hard times.


  • Gold Blood Collective

While many local venues—from the established to the tiny—face the problem of how to keep making rent while left without income from shows, that isn't really the case for local DIY spot Gold Blood Collective. Even in the face of an eviction, this enterprising venue's tough DIY spirit and long-held stakes in side-hustles has saved them some grief, turning a potentially paralyzing situation into one of opportunity for something better.

Co-owners Jack Harnick, Adrian Evans and Matthew Windsor all knew things were going to get bad in mid-March—about the same time that everyone in the nightlife world came to that conclusion. While at first receptive to working with them on deferral or partial rent payments on their Kensington Ave. space just off State Street, their landlord quickly changed his tune. "When she called me the first week of April screaming about not having her full rent, we knew it wasn't going to work long term," says Windsor. "We literally hung up the phone and started walking around our neighborhood and found three other places that were cheaper and would make a better venue."

The old spot, for anyone who's been, was definitely modest, and anyone who's walked around knows the industrial-ish area just west of State is full of primo buildings; The Loading Dock had also relocated to a small warehouse space just around the block earlier this year. Quickly, they learned that they were barred from the property, and a mad dash to get all their stuff from Gold Blood and its sister business Flat Black (a coffee shop) ensued.

Flat Back wasn't (and isn't) their only side-hustle, which is what's making the loss of their venue bearable. While COVID-19 rages and they're spaceless and relentless, they've been pumping out more of their distinctive goth-kid merch than ever, including skate decks, tees, hoodies and masks, as well as a deal which includes a free tee and mask with each skate deck purchase.

"Without having shows we've been able to channel all our energy into cooking up new merch, and stepping up our printing game not only for us, but for a select group of artists here in SLC who have been kind enough to give us the profits from their merch sales so we can reopen ASAP," says Windsor of Gold Blood's relationship with local visual artists, a special relationship City Weekly covered several months ago. Windsor cites many locals as recent collaborators, including Crooked Clique, The Black Realm, Milk Money, Spirit Prison, Nick Simone, Mummy, future.exboyfriend, Cera Gibson and Cult Crew.

"We are definitely going to reopen a new space as soon as we reasonably can. But there's absolutely no reason for us to rush out and pay first and last month's rent, plus a security deposit, and then pay the monthly rent for who knows how long—with no show income—until we can have shows, you feel me?" Windsor explains. Once it makes sense, though, they plan on a total return to form, including the same "venue/print shop/coffee shop" set-up they had working before at the Kensington spot. Their main interest is keeping Gold Blood's status as "one of SLC's most unique places to play"

While some places like The Beehive are digging in their heels and relying on donations to save their very cool and well-loved spaces, Gold Blood's desire for something better sets their situation apart. Windsor says, "Gold Blood is not a building, Gold Blood is a community, and that community deserves a nicer venue than what we had anyway." He adds that they'd rather serve that community than ask their community to help them give money to a landlord: "None of us feel like it should be our responsibility to make sure that a landlord's investment property remains profitable during a global pandemic."

With their last experience ending how it did, it's no wonder. But with their multi-faceted arts community helping them remain profitable and able to save, there's no doubt that of all the local venues—from the DIY to the big-time—Gold Blood stands the best chance of hitting the ground running when they can indeed start letting hardcore kids mosh in the pit again. Their methods make one wonder if, as time goes on, other venues won't also try to pivot to a foolproof community-and-arts-inclusive operation—where a venue is more than a venue, but perhaps also a label, a print shop or a record shop.

No matter what happens next, Gold Blood feels safe. "We would rather be a dope merch and screen-printing company for as long as it takes than rush into throwing some half-assed version of a show as soon as possible," Windsor says. "We thrive on thinking outside the box and we're always up to something—you will most definitely see us sooner rather than later."

Follow the many things that Gold Blood is up to on Instagram @goldbloodcollective and find merch, blogs and their virtual tip jar online at goldbloodcollective.com.