Jakob Nowell Ignites Sublime’s Comeback, Shines at Coachella 2024

Sublime Revives Legacy at Coachella with Emotional Performance.

by Nouman Rasool
Jakob Nowell Ignites Sublime’s Comeback, Shines at Coachella 2024
© Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Coachella

Jakob Nowell becomes the evocative new frontman for the legendary ska group Sublime on a breezy Saturday night at Coachella 2024. In a truly touching tribute, he took over for his father in quite a literal sense: Bradley Nowell died way back in 1996, which caused the first break-up of the band.

Fast forward almost 30 years to the day, and you'll find original bandmates Bud Gaugh on drums and Eric Wilson on bass, bringing new life to the songs that once defined a generation. A dynamite 50-minute set at the Coachella stage saw Sublime re-emerge, opening with the incendiary "April 29, 1992 (Miami)." Jakob delivered every lyric with a broiling passion and breathy explosion, bringing the words to life, which were a renewed conduit to his father's soul, in the process he captivated a standing-room-only crowd with the punk allure.

That included burning through such hits from the band's revered catalog as "What I Got," "Summertime," and "Wrong Way." Things did get pretty heavy in there, fans reviving the old mosh pit and traditional skanking to the band's "Date Rape" off that 1991 set that is, again, unfortunately, still way too true today.

Sublime's Full-Circle Moment

Emotional heft, especially since Jakob is now the same age—28—that his father was when he died. This is something the fans didn't have to be clued into: this was a very ground, historical point for this person.

Really, it was something of a full-circle event, not merely for Jakob but for long-time followers of the band. Addressing the crowd and Rolling Stone earlier this year, Jakob reflected on his role: “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.

It’s a family business,” he declared from the Coachella stage. The revival set at Coachella wasn’t just a musical performance; it was a tribute and a continuation of a legacy that many thought had ended. At that juncture, when Sublime finished off with "Santeria," their 1996 hit, the band made a brotherly moment by turning down an encore, preferring instead to leave the stage gracefully with feelings at a high point.

And when the young boy had said "Goodbye" to his father, even his words, "I love you dad," they resonated with the father, speaking of a relationship that could never be terminated.