Live Music + Gig Reviews

Gabriels @ Somerset House, London

7 July 2023

Jacob Lusk and co sail towards greatness in a show that feels like both a coronation and a celebration of how far they’ve come

Gabriels, live at Somerset House, London

Gabriels, live at Somerset House, London (Photo: Richard Thompson/Somerset House)

It’s fair to say that Gabriels have had quite a good few weeks. Their set at Glastonbury was one of the mid-afternoon highlights, Jacob was on hand to talk to BBC News about Elton John loving him and what to expect at his show – although neglecting to mention that he would be one of the guests brought on to steal it with a rendition of Are You Ready For Love. Oh, and their debut album proper came out today, of which they’re slightly jokingly riled that they’re up against “that bitch Taylor Swift“. The faux annoyance is justified, as Angels & Queens is a fantastic debut that deserves the plaudits and to be sold in droves.

Jacob Lusk is here to take us to church. And the rave-up. The man drips soul and blues and gospel, operating in a grand cape commanding the attention of the Somerset House courtyard. This show feels like both a coronation and a celebration of how far they’ve come and another step on towards further increasing greatness, and a showcase to anyone who has climbed on board in recent weeks. Their blend of post-nu soul framing of gospel, quiet storm and blues sounds like they’ve parked themselves in their own lane, and the charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent – and yes, sheer lungsmithery of Lusk. Celebratory covers of Soul II Soul’s Back To Life and a mini tribute to Tina Turner with Private Dancer help prop up the carefully pitched setlist, and their own classic Love & Hate In A Different Time was always going to be the overshadower, but Angels & Queens, Taboo and Glory aren’t far behind, and the The Way We Were-interpolation in We Will Remember is spectacular.

Truth is, while the mood and vibe is buoyant throughout, and the entire Gabriels set-up play a blinder, the darker it becomes, the more perfect the surroundings feel. Having charted their progress over the last couple of years and seen how they’ve grown so far, you know with another couple of albums’ worth of classics, they’ll be effortlessly sailing towards greatness.

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More on Gabriels
Gabriels @ Somerset House, London
Gabriels – Angels & Queens