Words By Shad Powers, The Desert Sun
April 23, 2016
You might not know Moreno Valley based DJ Gabe Real, but if you collect Coachella lineup T-shirts or posters, you’ve seen his name almost as much as anyone.
He was the first act out on the main stage Friday during Weekend Two at Coachella and that marked his ninth appearance at the famous festival. That’s right, he’s played here nine times from the Yuma Tent to the ultimate stage.
His first time was back in 2001 as a DJ for Supernatural also on the main stage. Last year he opened the Sunday afternoon set on the Outdoor Stage. He’s had different names throughout the years. DJ Lesto, DJ Wiens and now DJ Gabe Real.
On Friday he kicked out his usual mix of reggae jams and late 1980s, early 1990s hip-hop to a late-arriving crowd under the hot early-afternoon sun on the main stage where LCD Soundsystem would headline later.
He made sure to mix in some tributes. The year 2016 has been particularly rough on the world of musical influencers, but DJ Gabe Real pinpointed three to give a thumping shoutout to at Coachella. He played snippets of “Kiss” and “I Wanna Be Your Lover” in memory of Prince. The crowd cheered and pointed solemnly to the sky. He also played “Scenario” by Tribe Called Quest to honor Phife Dawg who also recently passed away. And finally he played David Bowie’s pop hit “Let’s Dance.”
He weaved them into his set seamlessly with “Kiss” rolling right into the drum beat opening of Bel Biv Devoe’s “Poison” for example.
Wearing a Wiens Brewing Company T-shirt (Temecula Brewery) and sun glasses, DJ Gabe Real didn’t do much in the way of showmanship. He let his sound speak for itself.
A lot of your favorite hip-hop jams were part of the set, “Me, Myself and I,” “Now That We Found Love” etc.
He was followed on the stage by Joey Bada$$, so by the time DJ Gabe Real’s set end he was playing for quite a nice size crowd.
If you missed his set, don’t worry. There’s about an 80 percent chance he’ll be back in some capacity next year if history is any indication.