Sublime Returns at Coachella 2024

Jakob Nowell stepped into his role as the lead singer of Sublime before thousands of fans on Saturday night, as the reunited band rocked out on the Coachella stage.

The legendary ska group first disbanded following the tragic death of lead singer Bradley Nowell in 1996. Nearly 30 years later, Nowell’s son took over his vocal and guitar duties, dutifully performing the songs his father wrote alongside drummer Bud Gaugh and bass player Eric Wilson.

The revived Sublime kicked off their 50-minute set with “April 29, 1992 (Miami)” — which Jakob commanded with a snarling punk charisma, evoking the rascal spirit of his father. The group powered through many of their best-known hits, including “What I Got,” “Summertime” and “Wrong Way.” Fans began to stir themselves into a mosh pit, skanking spiritedly to their 1991 song (and cautionary tale), “Date Rape.”

Gaugh and Wilson first performed with Jakob at a small club show in L.A. last December, but that was nothing like what this moment at Southern California’s biggest festival meant to Sublime’s devoted fans. The fact that Jakob is 28 years old — the same age his father was when he passed away — added gravity to their set.

For years, the Long Beach band existed only as Sublime With Rome: an offshoot featuring Wilson and singer Rome Ramirez. Wilson left that band when he revived the original Sublime with Gaugh and Nowell, and Sublime With Rome is going on a farewell tour this year. (“If it were up to me, this wouldn’t have been the way that it went down,” Ramirez recently told Rolling Stone. He added that he doesn’t begrudge Jakob Nowell for taking his place, though: “He’s Bradley’s son, for crying out loud!”)

“If Eric doesn’t want to play with Sublime With Rome anymore and he wants to play with Bud, and they’ve asked me to be their singer, then it’s my custodial duty to uphold that,” 28-year-old Nowell told Rolling Stone in February. “It’s a family business,” he later noted on the Coachella stage.

Sublime’s set is one of two major ska-punk revivals taking place at Coachella this year, with No Doubt performing for the first time in nearly a decade on Saturday night. But this one had a special resonance for Sublime fans who have waited nearly three decades to see something like this.


As the sun went down, Sublime closed its set on a high note with their 1996 hit, “Santeria.” The band members resisted calls for an encore as they embraced one another and walked off the stage.

“I love you dad,” said Jakob into the microphone, looking over the crowd. “I love each one of you guys.”

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