A palpable excitement is in the air as two legendary rock bands Nazareth and Extreme are set to headline the ‘Shirock 2019′ to be held in Ukhrul, Manipur. The performances will be part of the Shirui Lily Festival organised by Manipur Tourism Department to promote the Shirui Lily, an endangered Lily found in Shirui hills of the district.
Nazareth, which will hit the stage on October 16, the first day of the four days long festival, arrived in Imphal on Tuesday. According to the organisers, over 25,000 people from different parts of the Northeast are expected to attend the Nazareth rock concert at Bakshi ground in the district headquarter.
Addressing a press conference here in Imphal, Lee Agnew, drummer of the group said that the band will perform around 15 to 16 songs. “Nice to be back in India. We are pleased to be here and thank you for inviting us. We are ready to rock n roll tomorrow night,” said Lee. The group had earlier performed in Shillong and Aizawl in 2017.
Nazareth is a Scottish hard rock band formed in late 60s with Vocalist Dan McCafferty, guitarist Manny Charlton, bassist Pete Agnew, and drummer Darrell Sweet. The band has made significant changes in their line-up after some of their original members passed away including the legendary frontman Dan McCafferty. The bassist Pete Agnew is the only original member in the present line-up.
“Never in my wildest dreams had I imagined I would see them in flesh let alone performing in Manipur. I am super excited and can’t wait to attend the concert,” said Donald Sairem, a resident of Imphal.
According to, Pete Agnew, bassist of the group, replacement of its original vocalist was the biggest challenge that the band ever had. However, he said, with the love and supports from the fans and with Carl Sentence (the current vocalist), own unique styled thing worked out well. “Carl has a completely different style and it did work out well for us. We had been here three years ago and we are invited again so we must have been welcomed,” said Agnew.
Meanwhile, the Extreme, which will perform on the last day of the festival, will reach Imphal on the morning of October 18. The band is expected to draw a crowd of 20,000 people. It is an American rock band formed in 1985. The band is currently headed by vocalist Gary Cherone and guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, one of the band’s original line-up. The current line-up of Extreme includes vocalist Gary Cherone, guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, bassist Pat Badger and drummer Kevin Figueiredo.
Sochipem Kasomwung, a resident of Ukhrul said that it is like a dream come true that bands like Nazareth and Extreme are coming to perform in Ukhrul. “We are really grateful to Shirock for bringing international rock bands in our backyard,” he said. Sochipem Kasomwung is the frontman of a local band of OKING, one the finalist of the Shirock 2019. Both the bands are likely to perform for 90 minutes each.
Another major attraction at the Shirock is the band competition wherein rock bands from entire northeast regions will battle out for the title worth Rs 10 Lakh. This year the organisers also added another feature a solo competition.