The “Yo Gabba Gabba!” dance train makes a stop in Mpls.

There’s a party in our city!

PHOTO COURTESY BEN CLARK

PHOTO COURTESY BEN CLARK

Kara Nesvig

Yo Gabba Gabba Live! WHERE: U.S. Bank Theater at the Target Center WHEN: March 13, 3 p.m., 6 p.m. TICKETS: $17-45 Way back in the summer of 2007, Aidan, the 3-year-old I nannied, used to race to the TV every time the captivating explosion of color and sound that was âÄúYo Gabba Gabba!âÄù came on. He sat entranced as a stocky green monster sang about the party in his tummy, fueled by all the healthy foods he was consuming. Flash forward a few years and the kiddo phenomenon has spawned not only a plethora of merchandise, but also a roster of famous guest stars (Sarah Silverman, The Ting Tings) that has brought it almost as many adult fans as kids. No longer is the show keeping us on the couch, however, because this weekend, âÄúGabbaâÄôsâÄù live tour makes its first stop in Minneapolis. What was once a new millennium answer to ’70s childrenâÄôs programming like “H.R. Pufnstuf” and “The Electric Company” has now become a movement on Nick Jr. quite unlike anything before it. When Brad Pitt dressed up like the jumpsuited host DJ Lance Rock for Halloween, it was clear everyone was taking notice. So whatâÄôs the story behind âÄúYo Gabba Gabba?âÄù Co-founders Christian Jacobs and Scott Schultz were putting together a musical program about the mythology of their evil-fighting band The Aquabats when they decided instead to focus on childrenâÄôs entertainment. Married and with kids of their own, they realized there was a void in toddler programming. “There was a big variety show explosion in the ’70s and that carried over into children’s TV,” Jacobs explained. “They incorporated music and dance and art into these magazine format shows. There wasn’t a show like that anymore. ‘Sesame Street’ still exists, but it’s a different thing now.” Brobee and Muno, two of “YGGâÄôs” stars, were actually created about 15 years ago. “We thought, ‘If we can cute them up a little bit, anime them up, these would be great characters.” As with most children’s TV shows, “YGG” has its conventions. Its four stars, corralled by the effervescent DJ Lance Rock, experience things that all youngsters do. They learn not to bite their friends, not to be scared of the dark and to clean up their messes. Jacobs derived these lessons from experience with his own kids. These are no Dick and Jane moral lessons. Instead, video game aesthetics interrupt live action and guest stars that range from Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh to Weezer to Tony Hawk. “The way that it’s executed is a lot more modern and new school,” Jacobs explained. How did they conjure such a cool yearbook of guest stars? “It started with [80’s rap legend] Biz Markie,” said Jacobs. “When we shot the pilot, Scott got the feeling that Biz Markie needed to be on the show.” And so the rapper, most famous for his anthem “Just a Friend,” stopped by to beatbox in a segment that would soon become âÄúBizâÄôs Beat of the Day.âÄù Now, even megastars like Jack Black take part. “We don’t have a big budget to pay them a gazillion dollars,âÄù Jacobs explained. âÄúJack Black, he pretty much did the show for free because he likes it and his kids like it.” Turns out college students are also big fans of the Nick Jr. program. After all, isnâÄôt college itself similar to how Jacobs describes Gabba Land âÄî âÄúa happy place where Weezer and the Flaming Lips and cool bands are.” Except instead of roommates, there are monsters who share and clean up after themselves. Just as my tiny self boogied down the aisles at “Sesame Street Live,” so too will today’s little ones. As Jacobs puts it, âÄúWe want to give them that experience of what it’s like to go to a big show and dance and cheer for your heroes.âÄù