'Yo Gabba Gabba! Live!' in New York: The cool kids are down with Devendra Banhart
Childless Upper West Siders bewildered by the giant “Yo Gabba Gabba! Live! SOLD OUT” marquee in their posh Manhattan neighborhood quite likely grew even more confused this morning as swarms of toddlers dressed in furry green monster outfits and pink flower-bulb she-beast t-shirts descended upon the Beacon Theater for three consecutive sold-out performances. For those who still don’t know, Yo Gabba Gabba!, the brainchild of Scott Schultz (of the band Majestic) and Christian Jacobs (of The Aquabats), is a kids’ show on Nickelodeon, featuring a skinny DJ in an orange jumpsuit (DJ Lance Rock) and five monsters (well, four and a magic robot) he carries around his boombox. The music- and dance-heavy program teaches kids, in equal measure, about manners, trying new things, and 808 bass.
It’s that last one, plus the show’s incorporation of cool “Super Music Friends Show” bands (The Ting Tings, Chromeo, and The Shins, among them) and celebrity guests for the Dancey Dance segment (Andy Samberg, Rachel Dratch, and Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush have all been to Gabbaland) that attracted a handful of adults without kids in tow for the live show today. In addition to running through Gabba song classics like “Don’t Be Afraid,” “Get the Sillies Out,” and “Party In My Tummy (So Yummy),” the 11 a.m. show also featured a live performance by Devendra Banhart, who’s sweet, acoustic “Little Yellow Spider” brought smiles to moms and dads’ faces, even if it was a bit slow for the hyped-up kiddie mob, as well as a Dancey Dance from Brooklyn hip-hop artist Talib Kweli, who showed us how to do the Peanut Butter Squish. But the real treat was Biz Markie, who brought the show’s beatboxing “Biz’s Beat of the Day” seg to the Beacon, passing the mic to youngsters in the crowd so they could rock funky beats for the enthusiastic audience. (Watch him work an L.A. crowd in the clip below.)
Several hundred dropped balloons, two confetti cannon blasts, and 90 minutes later, the kids were sent back out into the streets of the Upper West Side (not before passing an elaborate merch table, which included plenty of adult-sized gear as well, of course), and I spent my walk back to the car explaining to my elated 3-year-old daughter through an ear-to-ear smile that Devendra Banhart wears two different color socks just because he’s plain old silly.
Photo Credit: Nickelodeon
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