Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, It's Ganesha's Rock & Roll Circus

Ganesha throws a Rock & Roll Circus at Satellite Bar
Ganesha throws a Rock & Roll Circus at Satellite Bar Art by Bill Ledgerwood

Ricky Dee said he was 10 years old the last time he went to the circus. You remember the circus, right? Cotton candy and trained elephants and trapeze artists. Dee, who is now full-grown and the guitar-slinging front man for Houston rockers Ganesha, thought back to childhood to recall what was most memorable about the circus.

“Just so many things to look at, and the rides and the freaky people dressed up and everything,” said Dee, of the greatest elements of the Greatest Show on Earth.

We’re discussing this revelry because Dee and his band are playing P.T. Barnum by hosting Rock & Roll Circus, a day-long rock music festival which will feature fun stuff straight from the Big Top. Dee is hoping you’ll clown car your way down to Satellite Bar (or, you know, maybe just take an Uber) for the fun on Saturday, May 25.

Just discussing his youth at the circus got Dee excited about the day.

“It’s gonna be a full day event, we’re going to have Tacos Bomberos there, also Sra. Churros will be serving up churros, crepes and ice cream and other fun foods,” he said. “We going to have face-painting out there by a local artist named Luna Chrysanthia, someone’s going to be doing caricatures and we’ll also have fire-spinners from Fern Evergreen Performance Art out of Austin and we have some local vendors doing some art,” he said.

Those art vendors, he said, include Lazer Hinojosa, Cart Dee and Luna Chrysanthia.

If all that (and a liquid light show “with crazy-looking lights”) doesn’t provide total sensory overload, then check your pulse and catch the bands that Ganesha has invited to play the event, some of the best rock acts from Houston and around the state. Music will crank up around 3 o’clock, Dee said, an hour or so after doors open.

“It’ll start out with a really exciting new group, Camarilla, from Houston, and then after that Disfrutalo. I think people will be excited to hear from them, they haven’t played live in a while,” he said. “So then after that we’ve got Mockingbird Brother and they just released a record, so that will be exciting.”

Dee continued down the list, like a ringmaster running through the agenda of strong men and acrobats.

“We’ve got Ghost Ship Ritual from the north side coming out, followed by Street Waves and Gorgeous Jetson out of Tyler, Texas. Smokey Mirror is from Dallas and then we’ve got El Jumbotron, King Country from Waco, Acid Carousel from Denton and then Ganesha will close out the night.”

The event was devised “to bring a fully immersive rock and roll show,” to Houston audiences, Dee said. He and Ganesha's bassist Noe Kimes dreamed up the idea two years ago and held the inaugural Circus event at Satellite, too. Dee noted the parallels between Ganesha’s Rock & Roll Circus and the famed Rock and Roll Circus thrown by The Rolling Stones in 1968. Like that one, this one brings together some of the strongest rock acts of a region and a bunch of friends together for an array of performances. While the Stones’ hippie-era Circus started at 2 p.m., just like Ganesha’s, it stretched out for 15 hours. The show went on so long that a fatigued Mick Jagger and company were critically considered to be upstaged by fellow acts The Who and Taj Mahal.

Dee acknowledges every act on the bill will give their all, but at the end of the day the point of the circus isn’t about competition, it’s about re-capturing that three-ringed magic we all enjoyed with wide eyes as kids.

“I just think the name sounds fun, it encourages people to dress up and kind of just break free a little more,” he said.

Ganesha's Rock & Roll Circus, Saturday, May 25 at Satellite Bar, 6922 Harrisburg. Doors at 2 p.m., $13.
KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jesse’s been writing for the Houston Press since 2013. His work has appeared elsewhere, notably on the desk of the English teacher of his high school girlfriend, Tish. The teacher recognized Jesse’s writing and gave Tish a failing grade for the essay. Tish and Jesse celebrated their 33rd anniversary as a couple in October.