Utah Stories

Exploring a Vague Space: A new kind of club in Sugar House

Vague Space is revitalizing a vision for Salt Lake’s music scene by providing a venue for subculture entertainment.


Peach Dream performs at Vague Space. Photo by Mike Jones.

Vague Space is the venue that is replacing Daley’s Clothing in Sugar House. Owner and operator, Spencer Daley, started Daley’s Clothing in 2015. It was originally called Daley’s Men’s Shop, but once the clothing store began selling women’s clothing, it was renamed to be all-inclusive and non-gender specific.

In 2016, Daley set his sights on establishing a small DIY venue in the basement of the shop. He was keenly aware of the loss suffered by Salt Lake’s creative community during the Sugar House redevelopment that started in 2007. Daley says, “The lack of a music venue in Sugar House is surprising considering the origin where Sugar House came from.”

With the help of Michael Paulson and Andres Escobar, the trio started The Borough, an all age’s venue. “We decided that the concept should be free shows or donation-based shows,” says Daley. “The goal was to bring people to our space or to Sugar House in general, who wouldn’t be around there in the evening time.”

After months of renovating, The Borough opened it’s doors on April 2, 2016. The first show drew an estimated crowd of 60 people. Shortly after the successful event, Daley teamed up with art curator Dani Frisk to host an art event. It was the first art show that the Borough has ever done,” says Daley. “We repainted the entire space—really just went as far over the top as we could.” Since the Borough operated as a free space, Daley didn’t have a lot of capital to work with, but was assisted financially by Frisk.

The event turned out to be a success, with an estimated 300 people turning up during the three hour event. While setting up the art show, Daley realized he had found a potential partner in Frisk. “I was surprised how well me and Dani worked together,” says Daley.“ It seemed like we were really on point with each other’s ideas.” Daley offered Frisk the chance to rent a room for art installations in Daley’s Clothing. Frisk agreed to Daley’s proposal and soon after began showcasing local artists. The first artists featured in the new space were Squidvisihuss and Abraham Von Waffle.

It was during this new stage that Paulson and Escobar started to lose interest in the Borough. Daley says,“ It was never their main focus.” During January and February, ownership of the DIY space transitioned solely to Daley. With a new focus, Daley prioritized Frisk’s art shows, which were called Vague. Daley soon renamed his shop and venue Vague Space. The idea would be to provide a space where artists and bands—both local and touring—could perform. “I came to realize that there was a huge hole in the art scene of Salt Lake,” says Daley. “There’s no creative space that caters to performance arts as well as installation art pieces.”

To make a permanent transition from a DIY space to a sustainable and legitimate venue a reality, Daley set about making some changes. This meant looking into completely phasing out Daley’s Clothing and exploring the realms of becoming a nonprofit entity. The ideal end result would have Daley focusing primarily on the art installations and shows. Daley says, “As it turns out, I like music more than I like clothes.”

To keep up with the times, Daley wants to provide Salt Lake’s subcultures a place to thrive. This means paying attention to the younger crowd. “I think the youth really decide what Vague Space is going to be,” says Daley. “We want to also cater to what’s currently popular, not what’s going to also become popular during the next few years.”

So far, Vague Space has attracted a loose following from Salt Lake’s revitalized goth scene as well as from the new wave, post punk, and hip hop crowds. Daley hopes that Vague Space’s events will pull in diverse audiences by exposing them to something new and fresh. He adds, “We don’t want it to be the same people every time, we want it to be different.”

On March 3, 2017, Daley threw a reopening show to celebrate the new vision. The event showcased local acts Los YaYaz, The Boys Ranch, and Rebel Rebel, with the support of two local all-vinyl DJ’s. Since the rebranding, Vague Space has promoted numerous events.

Vague Space Interior. Photo by Steven Vargo.

Daley works with several local promoters to book bands to make each gig a special event.


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