Yo Gabba Gabba! Brings "Big Rock Show" on North American Tour

<i>Yo Gabba Gabba!</i> Brings "Big Rock Show" on North American Tour
Since first airing in 2007, Yo Gabba Gabba! has become one of the most interesting, hip and forward-thinking shows on TV. In addition to regular contributions from Mark Mothersbaugh, Biz Markie and lovable host, DJ Lance Rock, the program has featured a slew of musical guests, including MGMT, Chromeo, Of Montreal, the Shins, the Flaming Lips, the Roots, the Ting Tings and countless others. This fall, the show is taking its wild-eyed enthusiasm and inimitable sense of humour on a massive North American tour.

Yo Gabba Gabba! creator Christian Jacobs is also the frontman for long-running ska punk outfit the Aquabats. Speaking on the phone from his Los Angeles office, he recalls hatching the show with creative partner Scott Schultz. "We were working on doing a television program for the band that I'm in, and my mind was kind of in that children's show fun land: crazy, wacky Japanese costumes and weird music fun," he recalls. "My wife and I had our first kid and we were watching TV with her as she was getting older. She was about two years old and I was watching preschool shows with her. I found that none of the shows we were watching with her were as cool as the shows we watched as kids, like Sesame Street or The Electric Company. Everything was just for the kid, whereas the things we watched growing up had something for everybody."

Eventually landing on the idea for Yo Gabba Gabba!, Jacobs and Schultz knew it would be a tough sell to studio execs. Pitch meetings came and went without a contract, so they filmed a pilot on their own in 1999. Jacobs' history with the DIY spirit of punk was a major help. "I'm 39, so I grew up through the DIY age of make your own magazine, make your own record, make your own video. DIY is just the independent spirit; it's always been there. In our generation, it's really prominent in entertainment. I think this is definitely one of those breakthrough, DIY children's shows. It's not connected to the government, it's not connected to the Children's Science Institute. It's connected to some real dads that love their kids and wanted to make something fun."

Yo Gabba Gabba! also embraces the DIY aesthetic with a road-ready spirit, as the show is currently on a 68-date tour. Similar to the television show, the trek is full of surprise guests and entertainment for all ages. "Scott and I, we both come out of music," Jacobs says. "As dads watching this show with our kids, what do we want to see? What's going to keep our attention as well? So we really orchestrated it like a big rock show with lots of production and big screens. They drop 3,000 balloons at every show, and there's a bubble machine and confetti canons. We just threw it all in there. It could be comparable to a Flaming Lips concert with that tone where there's video and confetti and people dancing crazy and going nuts. The difference is that it's appropriate for kids."

While they don't reenact specific episodes, the live Yo Gabba is very similar to the televised version, with dancing creatures, DJ Lance Rock and even Biz Markie, who has joined the tour for his legendary "Beat of the Day." What's more, fans can expect surprise celebrity guests and a secret band at each show. "We'll be going through the live show playing songs, singing songs and jumping around. All of a sudden, a band shows up on this roll out stage, and you'll have Hot Hot Heat or Dinosaur Jr. or someone playing a song, then they just go and the characters go back performing. What just happened? It's pretty short attention span theatre, but I think it's also pretty fun for the Facebook/Twitter generation who can write, 'Oh my gosh I can't believe Snoop Dogg is here and he's teaching me how to do the peanut butter stomp.'"

Yo Gabba Gabba! Live continues through Canada this week, with appearances in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Regina, Winnipeg, London and Ottawa. Tickets can be purchased here. In addition to the live show, the creators are planning another television season, a DVD of the concert and possibly a feature film.

Tour dates:

9/8 Edmonton, AB - Northern Jubilee Auditorium
9/9 Calgary, AB - Southern Jubilee
9/11 Vancouver, BC - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
9/12 Vancouver, BC - Queen Elizabeth Theatre
9/14 Regina, SK - Brandt Centre
9/15 Winnipeg, MB - MTS Centre Theatre
9/18 London, ON - John Labatt Centre
9/19 Ottawa, ON - Scotiabank Place
9/21 Rochester, NY - Auditorium Theatre
9/22 Burlington, VT - Flynn Theatre
9/24 Portland, ME - Merrill Auditorium
9/25 Boston, MA - Wang Theatre
9/26 Boston, MA - Wang Theatre
9/28 Providence, RI - Providence PAC
9/29 Wallingford, CT - Oakdale Theatre
9/30 Pittsburgh, PA - Benedum Center for the Performing Arts
10/2 New York, NY - Radio City Music Hall
10/3 New York, NY - Radio City Music Hall
10/5 Hershey, PA - Hershey Theater
10/6 Cleveland, OH - State Theatre at PlayhouseSquare
10/8 Detroit, MI - Fox Theatre
10/9 Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
10/10 Chicago, IL - Chicago Theatre
10/11 Louisville, KY - The Palace Theatre
10/13 Indianapolis, IN - Murat Theatre
10/15Richmond, VA - Landmark Theater
10/16 Greensboro, NC - War Memorial Auditorium
10/17 Charlotte, NC - Ovens Auditorium
10/19 Chattanooga, TN - Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Auditorium
10/20 Huntsville, AL - Von Braun Center
10/21 Nashville, TN - Jackson Hall Tennessee PAC
10/23 Atlanta, GA - Fox Theatre
10/24 Atlanta, GA - Fox Theatre
10/27 Jacksonville, FL - Moran Theatre at Times Union Center
10/29 Kissimmee, FL - Silver Spurs Arena
10/30 Tampa, FL - St. Pete Times Forum
10/31 Miami, FL - American Airlines Arena
11/2 Columbia, SC - Township Auditorium
11/3 Knoxville, TN - Tennessee Theatre
11/5 Tulsa, OK - BOK Center
11/6 Kansas City, MO - The Midland
11/7 Denver, CO - 1st Bank Center
11/9 Salt Lake City, UT - The E Center
11/12 Spokane, WA - INB Performing Arts Center
11/13 Seattle, WA - Tacoma Dome
11/14Portland, OR - Memorial Coliseum
11/15 Eugene, OR - Hult Center
11/18 Sacramento, CA - Memorial Auditorium
11/20 San Francisco, CA - Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
11/21 San Francisco, CA - Bill Graham Civic Auditorium
11/26 Los Angeles, CA - Nokia Theater
11/27 Los Angeles, CA - Nokia Theater
11/28 San Diego, CA - San Diego Sports Arena
12/4 Phoenix, AZ - Dodge Theater
12/5 Phoenix, AZ - Dodge Theater
12/7 El Paso, TX - Abraham Chavez Theater
12/9 San Antonio, TX - Freeman Coliseum
12/10 Houston, TX - Hobby Center
12/11 Austin, TX - Cedar Park Center
12/12 Dallas, TX – Dr. Pepper Arena