Author: Gabriel Wolthuis
In a night to remember, Jordy Searcy brought good songs and good feelings to Hope College’s Dimnent Chapel on Nov. 2.
Hope’s concert series has a strong track record. Time and again, Hope has been way ahead of the curve, bringing in artists who seem destined to sell out large venues once the rest of the world catches on to their brilliance. Artists who now command huge venues such as Big Thief, Mt. Joy, Iron & Wine, Novo Amor, Ingrid Michaelson and Ben Rector all played at Hope before they made it big. Jordy Searcy is the most recent addition to this list of celebrated musicians, and based on this performance, it would not be surprising if he finds a similar level of success.
Warming up the crowd was Grace Theisen (’14), a singer-songwriter and Hope alum that describes their sound as “androgynous Americana”. Along with a drummer and electric guitarist, Theisen brought great energy and an engaging stage presence, preparing the audience well for the headliner.
Jordy Searcy took the stage around 8:15, opting to open with a solo performance of his pensive single “Molly” off his most recent record, Daylight. Searcy proceeded to mesmerize the crowd with his characteristically introspective songs and charming stage presence. Refusing to play by the expected rules of concert setlisting, he played his most popular song, “Love & War in Your Twenties”, near the beginning, eliciting the most enthusiastic singalong of the night before shifting into an abbreviated cover of Tears for Fears’ classic “Everybody Wants to Rule The World”
Following this came a rousing performance of the propulsive single “Why Can’t We Be Friends”, easily the energetic high-point of the night and an excuse for him to indulge in his love of jamming. Clearly, small venues like Hope are where Searcy thrives, and he took full advantage of the intimate setting, interrupting his own song to host an impromptu Q & A, fielding questions about touring, his time as a contestant on The Voice and milestones in his career. Wrapping it up with an amusing story about how he met his fiancée, Searcy finished an unreleased song that he wrote for her called “Clean the House”, enlisting the help of a member of the audience to hold his phone while he video called home.
Near the end of his main set, Searcy brought up on stage a member of the audience, Sarah Gruchow (’24) to provide background vocals for the duet “Morning Glow”, much to the delight of the crowd. His keyboard player also chimed in on this song, showcasing an incredible voice that felt underutilized throughout the rest of the show. Before launching into his last song, Searcy decided to go off-script (so he said, anyway), taking a couple of requests from the audience, moving to the center of the crowd with his guitar to play “Explaining Jesus”, “Amazing Grace” and “Daylight.” Finally, he got back on stage and belted out his most recent single “End of Us” (another song inspired by his fiancée) before exiting the stage to a standing ovation.
Jordy Searcy is a man of many talents, and one that was on full display throughout this performance is his audience engagement. Almost all his songs have a very intimate quality to them, making the listener feel as if they are a meaningful part of Searcy’s life. That trait was exemplified by this concert, with Searcy taking as many opportunities as possible to acknowledge the people in the room with him and get them involved. He truly has a gift for reaching people where they are at, and his commitment to representing his full self in his art will almost certainly take him to great heights.
Overall, this show was a refreshing display of authenticity, vulnerability and good vibes. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to experience and enjoy his talent first-hand.