Go behind the scenes at Coachella for Gabriels’ festival debut

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Jacob Lusk’s first time attending the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was nothing if not memorable.

The singer, who grew up in Compton, spent 45 minutes Friday on the stage inside the Gobi Tent.

Fusing gospel, soul, R&B and more, Lusk, a member of band Gabriels, took fans old and new to church during the midafternoon set.

“It was amazing. Coachella’s incredible,” Lusk said in an interview after the performance. “It’s special to finally be able to do it. To be from L.A., from Southern Cal, to do it, it was great.”

Take an inside look at how the band’s Coachella debut came together.

Gabriels rehearse on April 10 in Los Angeles before their Coachella debut last weekend.

(Renee Parkhurst)

The group spent time rehearsing at their practice space in Los Angeles in the week leading up to the festival, by far their biggest gig to date. Last year, the band played some dates opening for 2022 Coachella headliner Harry Styles.

A diptych of people smiling.

Left: Gabriels members Dominic Canning, left, and Ari Balouzian laugh backstage. Right: Gabriels background singer Claudia Cunningham poses in front of the band’s dressing room backstage at Coachella on April 14.

(Renee Parkhurst)

The project began in 2016 when filmmaker Ryan Hope started working with producer-composer Ari Balouzian. They found Lusk through his church choir.

Lusk’s varied resume includes performing as part of Nate Dogg’s gospel choir and singing on Beck’s “Everlasting Nothing.” He was also a finalist on “American Idol” more than a decade ago.

Left: Gabriels singer Jacob Lusk puts on his stage clothes in the band's trailer. Right: A detail of Jacob's coat.

Left: Gabriels singer Jacob Lusk puts on his stage clothes in the band’s trailer backstage. Right: A detail of Jacob’s coat.

(Renee Parkhurst)

Gabriels released a pair of EPs in 2021, followed by debut album “Angels & Queens” in September 2022.

The band also picked up a nomination for international group of the year at the Brit Awards earlier this year.

The backs of a band as they walk onto a stage

Gabriels walk onto the stage of the Gobi Tent at Coachella on April 14.

(Renee Parkhurst)

A man wearing a tuxedo sings on stage with his arms out to his sides

Jacob Lusk of Gabriels belts out a tune at Coachella.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

A man wearing a brocade overcoat sings into a microphone

Jacob Lusk of Gabriels started planning his custom-made outfit for Coachella months ago.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

A band performs on a stage

Jacob Lusk, singer of Gabriels, said it was special to perform at Coachella on April 14 because he’s from Southern California.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

A dynamic performer, Lusk wore a tuxedo topped with a long brocade overcoat.

He said he planned the outfit months in advance and went fabric shopping to have it custom made.

During the band’s well-received set, Lusk showed off his powerhouse voice and led the audience in a call-and-response to spread a message of love.

“They say if you love somebody, baby — come on, say it with your chest — baby, you should tell them every day,” Lusk called to the crowd as they repeated after him.

Three people pose backstage at Coachella

Gabriels — Ryan Hope, left, Jacob Lusk and Ari Balouzian — are backstage after making their Coachella debut on April 14.

(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

After the performance, Lusk ditched the tuxedo for a more desert heat-friendly ensemble of shorts and a Dodgers jersey, with the logo written in blue sparkles as he, Hope and Balouzian posed for photos.

“Seeing my old co-workers [during the show], that was amazing. Seeing my family and friends out in the audience, that was the most special moment,” Lusk said in an interview after the set.

Up next for the band is a return date in the desert as Coachella’s second weekend kicks off Friday, April 21.

Gabriels’ second album, “Angels & Queens Part II,” is expected this summer, when the band is playing a number of European festivals, including Spain’s Primavera Sound, before coming back to the U.S. for a date at Outside Lands in San Francisco in August.

The door to the Gabriels trailer.

The door to the Gabriels trailer.

(Renee Parkhurst)

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