Lou Smith and capturing what would otherwise be lost

Venues such as the Windmill in Brixton and The Five Bells in New Cross are the crucibles where the alchemy of live music played in intimate surroundings happens.

When you think about it, everything gets filmed but nothing gets saved. Thousand and thousands of sets are recorded in one of two ways: either from the back the room above the heads of the crowd or from a gap in the audience in portrait-mode, split up over the course of two minute insta story.

This analysis applies almost entirely to the medium-to-small venue, since I find myself very often looking for evidence of the bands I love, or the sets I remember them playing; to find basically nothing.

This results in a fear I have for this scene in South London that aligns with a story I heard about The Golden Age of Radio. Simply put, daytime radio was the fucking shit in the 40s but because no one thought to record it, all that great material is just lost to time.

Now, I’m not about to go full boomer lecture in this article, but I really don’t want to live in a world where the only reliable way to watch the early days of some of these great bands, is to grit my teeth and try and parse movement from a dark, vertical letterbox with audio like a car battery in a washing machine.

This is why I think Lou Smith is an unsung hero in the South London scene.

I won’t completely annihilate the function of photography within the scene, since the photographers are the second biggest creative pillar to the music itself. But there is something so excitingly obsessive about the work that Lou does, he’s sees everything and documents it in all honest purity.

I think this footage covers Lou’s base pretty well. There’s no pretentiousness to way it’s filmed, there’s just the light, the music and the sweaty incel energy onstage. But I think that’s the best part of what he does, it’s just a professional approach to capturing these bands that no one else seems to get right.

The other great thing about Lou comes out of him in his comment section. He engages with people, responds to messages and just gives this wholesome air of actually caring. Like I said, the exact opposite of pretentiousness.

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