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LIVE REVIEW: Shadow Smile, Celavi and Hellbearer at Manchester Retro 2024.

On 13th April 2024 we headed to Manchester to show our support and catch up with our friends over at Shadow Smile, but what we didn't realise is how much of an incredible show we was about to witness.

Of course, we have seen Shadow Smile perform before, but that was when they were competing at Metal 2 The Masses in Sheffield, so it has been a while since we last caught up with the band.

This time around, Shadow Smile were performing for the first time in the City of Manchester, looking to bring in new members to their ever-growing vampiric cult, and oh boy did they book two incredible acts to open up the night.

First to perform was Hellbearer, and they did not disappoint. I'd never heard of these guys before and I made sure not to spoil it for myself before seeing them before live. The minute they took the stage, they blew the roof off the place and despite how these guys look, they came across as the most friendly group of guys, making sure to interact with the crowd and not take everything too seriously, which is what I like to see when seeing artists play live. If you take it too seriously then where can you have fun? If you ever have the chance to see these guys play live and are into thrash metal and just want an overall good night, then I 100% recommend you go to see Hellbearer.

Watch Hellbearer perform From Souls to Embers live at Retro, Manchester:

Next up on the bill was Celavi, coming all the way from North Wales to perform live at Retro Manchester. These guys sounded amazing and were energetic throughout the show. Although, I think the vocalist, Sarah, was slightly distracted as they were recording their set at the time, which is completely understandable but for us as an audience did draw away some of our attention as there wasn't much crowd interaction. I wouldn't say it was enough of an issue for me to say to not go and see them live, these guys still sounded amazing and I am sure without the distraction of a camera, there would be much more interaction with their audience. I would definitely recommend that you go and catch them live if you ever get a chance, the band sounds incredible live and Sarah is very energetic on stage, I don't think I really saw them stop moving if I'm honest, which is exactly what you want to see from the person who is in-charge of getting everyone hyped up and joining in. After seeing Celavi live I understand exactly why these guys have featured on the likes of BBC Radio 1 and BBC Introducing. They've even released tracks that are sung in the Welsh language, of which even for those who live in Wales is a difficult language to learn let alone sing an entire song in.

Watch Celavi perform Dyma Fi (This Is Me) live at Retro, Manchester:

Moving on to the top band of the night, Shadow Smile. I've seen these guys perform live before, but their performance in Manchester absolutely blew me away. It was absolutely insane and they made me feel like I was standing in an arena with the way they interacted with the crowd and how they put on their show, remember, this is a very small venue and it wasn't even sold out with it being their first time in Manchester.

The overall sound of the band has dramatically improved since I last saw them perform at Sheffield Corporation for Metal 2 The Masses a couple of years ago, if they put this performance on that night they would've won no questions asked, and I do hope they enter again during the next wave of entries.

Every single track was performed in spectacular fashion, from the lightning, choreography from their dances to the overall sound of the band. I would love to see Shadow Smile performing at even bigger venues with much more production resources, as from what I can see they are really putting their all into everything they have available to them at the moment, and if given these resources these guys would put on a f*cking stunning show, not that they aren't already.

I also managed to catch up with Connor after the show, and he mentioned that he's been battling a chest infection during their tour and I'm not gonna lie, I didn't even notice. He managed to not only just perform but made sure that he did not slack in anyway throughout the night. A true frontman.

Enough about Connor, what about the rest of the band? Adam, Joe and Ethan all put on a tight performance, every beat and sound sounded incredibly clear and nothing was off beat, but I am not sorry to say, Adam stole the spotlight that night, the solos from that man where incredible and at one point even playing whilst on top of Connors shoulders. Lord knows what sort of stunt he'd pull if given access to a bigger venue and more resources to play with!

Finally, the crowd interaction. Each band member was interacting with the crowd, even Joe on drums at the back, each of them making sure they was joining in with every song whether that be clapping along or head banging at certain points. It was simply perfection.

So, if you have not yet attended a Shadow Smile gig, well I am sorry to say you are missing out and to be honest, I really think you should go and get yourself a ticket. Trust me, you are missing out.

Shadow Smile's gig was an incredibly fun night, and I would like to say thank you to the guys for inviting us down to watch their first ever performance in Manchester. We will for sure be attending again in the future!

We will be uploading all videos from the night to our YouTube channel very soon!

Live Images (Shadow Smile):

Photo Credit: Molly Govier (Social Media Manager)

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