Tanukichan M For Montreal, Montreal QC, November 17

Tanukichan M For Montreal, Montreal QC, November 17
Photo: Nadia Davoli
Hannah Van Loon's bassist, Matthew Horton, had a lot to say. When she plunged to the ground between songs to adjust her guitar, he goofily tried out his French — "Ca va?" after one, "Le nom de notre groupe est Tanukichan" after another — and his high fives on the crowd. He bit the body of his bass and pointed to the ceiling with his endless arms. He encouraged the fans to "get turnt for the next one." One might worry about this dynamic: him speaking for her; the boisterous space he was taking up.
But maybe the mistake was thinking that Van Loon should be a clear frontwoman, that she even could in a band that plays submersive shoegaze. All four band members stood in an even line; together, they gushed out impenetrable fog like a beautiful headache.
Dense bass lines and rushing synths meant that even Van Loon's singing surfaced as much as a knuckle does under skin. And it was supposed to be that way (her bandmates repeatedly asked for sound adjustments; never her). She was calling out into a chaos of her own creation, happy to be just a fold in their thundercloud. When she watched, fond smile, as Horton riled up the crowd, she was letting the atmosphere carry her.
Besides, Horton always looked to her when he spoke, and when she sank to the stage before the last song, he went with her. Hannah Van Loon was still the guiding pivot, the still eye of Tanukichan's storm.