The Hypochondriacs soundcheck at the Seahorse Tavern before their show on Friday.
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Live music’s new look: Behind the mask with the Hypochondriacs

Out-of-province band returns to Halifax after nearly two years

The Hypochondriacs had a gig scheduled in the city “the week the world ended,” said bandleader Josh Bravener.

Josh Bravener of the Hypochondriacs tunes his guitar before soundcheck.   Cam Towner

“We were booked to play here. And then we ended up cancelling before the venue did because, like, just for the safety for everyone,” said Bravener, lead singer and guitarist for the band. “I wasn’t comfortable going out of province at that time. And then since then, it’s kind of just been like a waiting game.”

Guitarist Connor Fox adjusts his amp before soundcheck at the Seahorse Tavern on Nov. 26.   Cam Towner

The Hypochondriacs, a six-piece rockabilly band from Fredericton, played their first show in Nova Scotia since the pandemic began on Friday night at the Seahorse Tavern on Gottingen Street.

Drummer Andrew DeMerchant Facetimes his family before the show. Bravener, left, says hello to DeMerchant’s kids.   Cam Towner

Packing themselves and their gear into separate cars, they drove the four-plus hours to Halifax for 6:30 p.m. After spending an hour setting up and doing the soundcheck they went upstairs to grab dinner in The Local.

The Nova Scotia face mask ordinance flanks the stage in the Seahorse Tavern.   Cam Towner

They laughed about the potential crowd size. “If anyone comes we’ll be happy. We’re just happy to be here. We’re not hoping for anything,” Bravener said. 

Connor Fox adjusts his hat before going onstage on Nov. 26.   Cam Towner

“We’re happy to play a live show, even if it’s just for the sound guy,” said Kelly Waterhouse, singer and saxophonist.

Sax player Kelly Waterhouse’s mask hangs from her microphone stand, while bassist Jamie Guitar rocks in the background.   Cam Towner

The band played at 11 p.m., something “we’re not used to doing anymore,” said Jeannine Gallant, who sings and plays trombone for the band.

Josh Bravener croons to the audience at the Seahorse Tavern.   Cam Towner

They opened the show with an uptempo number, ending with a guitar solo from guitarist Connor Fox that drew the shoulder-to-shoulder audience to the dance floor.

Hypochondriacs Jeannine Gallant, Jaime Guitar and Connor Fox get down onstage.   Cam Towner

The crowd was dense and sweaty. Condensation clearly gathered inside the masks worn by the audience as they moved with the music.

Josh Bravener shares a tender moment with fans.   Cam Towner

“It got very hot, very warm. It’s nice to have a crowd dancing that isn’t your local crowd. So it’s nice that we had supporters here that liked it,” said Bravener after the show.

The Seahorse audience demands an encore from The Hypochondriacs.   Cam Towner

“We had like, a crew dancing in front which was amazing. Just magic,” said Waterhouse.

Cam Towner

Cam Towner

Cameron is a 4th-year journalism student from Innisfil, Ontario, and has lived in Halifax since 2017. He works as the Head of Broadcast for the University of King's College Athletics Department.

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