[Concert Review] Tengger Cavalry, Felix Martin

Musical curveballs are what’s exciting about going to concerts. Prolific performers like Mongolian folk metal band Tengger Cavalry can pick myriad songs to perform, along with touring with diverse performers that can accentuate their sound. On this tour, supporting jazz-meets-metal trio led by Felix Martin informed the audience of the musical intelligence found within Tengger Cavalry’s music. They might also be the most vital proponents, maybe even educators, in the dying art of throat singing.

Anthrocene
Local opening act with potential. They need to hone their craft. Write more songs to come up with a unique voice. That might enable them to get a bigger audience.
Bias: Seen once recently
Rating: ★★★☆☆ [3/5]

Helsótt
I forgot I saw them in 2015! They were average before, and now, they’ve only slightly improved. Their inclusion of pre-recorded folk music is weird. Touring with additional musicians helps immensely!
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ [2/5]

Felix Martin Trio
Felix Martin displays a virtuosity within the progressive metal genre that might seem removed from folk metal+ band Tengger Cavalry. Both performers push their respective genre beyond standard boundary trappings. Martin expands on the typical hammer-ons sound with his wild double-necked 14-string and 16-string guitar creation. It’s no gimmick guitar!
Martin was joined by 18-string bassist Scott Fernandez and drummer Brandon Zackey. Their performance was a dynamic playthrough of Martin’s latest album Mechanical Nations, which quoting the liner notes, was “recorded as a live trio setting, no double tracked guitars, sound effects nor backing tracks were used during the recording.”
Swag: Complete discography, actually
Bias: No preconceived notions
Rating: ★★★★★ [5/5]

Tengger Cavalry
Throat singing could be considered a dying art. Or merely unpopular. Tuvan khöömei singer Kongar-ol Ondar might have made the biggest splash appearing on The David Letterman Show. Richard Feynman (Tuva or Bust!) and Frank Zappa (collaborating with Huun-Huur-Tu) made incidental ripples. The documentary Genghis Blues saw Ondar hung out with American kargyraa singer Paul Pena. Other than Huun-Huur-Tu, Yat-Kha, Nine Treasures, Hanggai, and Tanya Tagaq, throat singers might be underrepresented in surfing music airwaves.
Enter Tengger Cavalry.
Lead by Mongolian throat singer Nature Ganganbaigal, Tengger Cavalry are strategically launching the torch of perhaps the oldest form of music into folk music, which is a diverse genre, and one that’s increasing in popularity. They’re prolific and experimental. Traditional Chinese folk music ignites their Hymn of the Earth album and slower jams light up their Die On My Ride album. By retaining metal’s heavy headbanging and jovial attitude, their music is warm and inviting.
How about live?
Tengger Cavalry have twice now proven that throat singing, folk instrumentation, and metal can blend together without seeming cluttered. They started out as a studio band, which can transition awkwardly. Getting it right on the fifteenth attempt doesn’t fly live. Fortunately, that’s not the case here! They’re a well-oiled machine, providing nearly shamanistic experiences to audiences that could leave you with a lively informal Mongolian cultural and musical lesson, or just an excitingly entertaining evening.
Swag: Completed my collection
Bias: Loved ’em before
Rating: ★★★★★ [5/5]

Felix Martin Trio

My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)