Jordan Knight and Jesse Labelle Bring Pop Hooks to The Citadel

What? A music concert at the Citadel Theatre? While one of our city’s most well-known theatre venues might not be known for hosting musical performances, that’s exactly what will happen on October 16 as Jordan Knight and opener Jesse Labelle take to the stage.

Jordan Knight, of New Kids on the Block fame (as if I needed to tell you) will be sure to be reliving highlights of his 13-year post-NKOTB solo career, with the help of classic hits like “Give it to You” or the single from his latest album, “One More Night”

Opening for Jordan Knight is Toronto musician Jesse Labelle, who is touring in support of his second album, Two, released August 7 this year. “So far, it’s been great. It’s only been a couple of shows, most of the tour is still ahead, but I’m having a blast. I’m really excited to get back out on the road.”

“[Touring to support Jordan Knight] works really well, with his show and with my show, and for [Jordan Knight’s]  fans as well. They’re such die-hard fans of his music and he’s been doing this for a long, long time. I’m kind of just coming up, this is my second record, but playing and opening for him, it just fits. I don’t know why it does, necessarily, but it does. His fans are really receptive and they’ve been warm and welcoming so far… There’s a lot of tours where people kind of straggle in until the headliner comes on, but with this tour, everyone’s been there right at the beginning and very into what’s going on.”

What can you expect from Jesse Labelle’s show? A lot of sweet, pop melodies telling love stories. Whether it’s the negative aftermath of love gone south – like “Heartbreak Coverup” (the SoundCloud link at the top of the article) – or songs about keeping a relationship moving forward, like my personal favorite from the album, “Straight Line”, Two runs the gamut across all experiences of love.

Labelle says, “I’ve always been a songwriter, first and foremost. I don’t make music that’s just sound. I like to tell a story, no matter what it is that I’m doing. I was trying to bring that into a slightly more contemporary genre. Pop music is at a strange state right now – it’s very open to interpretation and there’s a lot of room for experimentation… There aren’t a lot of singer-songwriters, there’s a lot of dance music out there, but there’s not a lot of lyrical music, a lot of storytelling. I just tried to take the idea of a story, which a lot of people do in country music, and do something that was kind of new and modern.”

“But, why make a record about love? Isn’t that a bit cliché?” I ask. “You know, people like to focus on the fact that my record is about [love]. But, you listen to anyone’s record, that’s what they’re all about. People like to say, ‘what did you write it about?’ – I mean, you go and listen to anyone’s album, you buy a Maroon 5 album, or a Beatles record, or a James Taylor record, or a Bruno Mars record, or even a Britney Spears or a Lady Gaga record – they’re all about love. At the end of the day, it’s really a universal topic… I don’t think it’s really cliché to write about that.”

Catch Jesse Labelle opening for Jordan Knight on Tuesday, October 16 at the Citadel Theatre. Tickets are $47.25 – $84.

– Jenna Marynowski

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