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TENGGER CAVALRY In Pittsburgh, PA With Photos!

By Curt Miller, Pittsburgh Correspondent
Monday, June 13, 2016 @ 11:12 AM

The CAVALRY Raids Belvedere’s

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All Photos By Curt Miller

I arrived early at Belvedere’s in Pittsburgh on June 3rd, just about the time the opening band was loading in. The promoter said that TENGGER CAVALRY was headed in from a show in North Carolina the night prior and wouldn’t go on until later in the evening. I waited outside, and while doing so, watched as concertgoers read the marquee, “TENGGER CAVALRY: Mongolia(n) Folk Metal.” There were some diehard fans in the know who were fully prepared for a great show and others who were intrigued by the advertisement and wanted to see what it was all about.

TENGGER CAVALRY arrived just before 10:00pm, and as they loaded in, a local, deathcore act, took to the stage. With a lot of energy and fronted by a woman with fierce vocals, they certainly made sure everyone was ready for a night of serious metal. There was a bit of a gap between performances as the venue’s sound team struggled to get all of the members of TENGGER CAVALRY set up properly. To the band’s credit, they took it in stride, jamming together and keeping the crowd entertained. Drummer Josh Schifris even made a few funny comments about how much they knew it sucked when it became clear that the crowd had become irritated by the delay. It wasn’t the band’s fault and they were likely more aggravated about the problems than anyone, but they handled the whole thing well.

Lead vocalist/guitarist, Nature Ganganbaigal, opened TENGGER CAVALRY’s set with a long-held note in throat singing accompanied by the slow, galloping sound of Uljmuren on the morin khuur (horse head fiddle). After but a few bars, though, the heavy bass, drums, distorted guitar and thundering sound of Robert McLaughlin’s dombra made it clear that this show was very much metal. The band expertly blended the nomadic, Mongolian folk instruments with modern heavy music and were onstage head banging all the while.

By the time the band played “Mountain Side” the crowd, some of whom had just become aware of the concept of Mongolian folk metal that very evening, was all in. Everyone was head banging, couples were dancing in front of the stage and concertgoers were heard shouting, “You guys are fucking awesome” more than once. Before long, a full on mosh pit erupted and I, standing up front in a venue with no photo pit, got pummeled. It was pretty great.

Next up, Nature asked for a show of hands as per how many in the audience had ridden a horse. Well, we were in Western, Pa, so a lot of hands went up. At that he announced, “It’s time to raid Pittsburgh” and TENGGER CAVALRY played a powerful rendition of “War Horse”. The whole place went nuts. But for a few wallflowers, which now included me protecting my camera, the entire crowd had become one big mosh pit.

One piece that truly set the night apart from any other show and brought home the band’s effortless blend of cultures was Robert McLaughlin’s shaman dance using a frame drum. McLaughlin is a practicing shaman and as he danced, screamed and pounded on the drum, it was clear that the spirit of the dance had overcome his typical quiet demeanor. He was accompanied by the rest of the band who played a heavy rhythm with chunky guitar riffs layered overtop of them. Throughout the entire performance was the ever-present gallop of Uljmuren’s morin khuur.

TENGGER CAVALRY kept the set heavy all the way to the end, but the fans begged for an encore. The band didn’t disappoint. After they finished up, they took a selfie with the whole crowd and stayed on stage for a long while to chat with all of their fans. I stuck around and talked a bit with the band as they loaded out and jumped back on the road headed for New York City. They had a show the next afternoon at Webster Hall, so even after the long drive into Pittsburgh from North Carolina and playing a powerful metal show, they still had a long night ahead as they made their way to NYC. TENGGER CAVALRY finished out their North American tour that following afternoon. Given their pace and their performance, they were correct to have called their tour a “raid.”

Check out some more photos from the show!
All Photos By Curt Miller

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