Category - Music

Mogal-E-Azam Boarded Up

Outside night shot of Mogal-E-Azam restaurant
Photo credit: Momina Iqbal

This is bad news (but note the updates at the end of the story).

Whenever I go to a gig at Rock City, it is automatically followed by a curry at the Mogal. It’s been that way for the last 30 or more years. But it appears that the Mogal has gone into liquidation and is now boarded up. A sign on the boards says ‘Under New Management’ – though precisely what that means is unclear right now.

It was always a little unclear figuring out who actually owned it. The article refers to Sheikh Assab, and he was certainly managing it prior to the Covid pandemic – I didn’t realise he was an owner. He was a really friendly guy, and the food was top notch most of the time. Things changed a little about five years ago. Sheikh Assab told us they had ‘a new chef’ – it seems the original chef was Sheikh Sujat, and I think he was one of the owners. With the new chef, the Pilau Rice had sweetcorn and peas in it, and tasted more like some sort of chicken-flavoured packet meal (we complained, and it was proper Pilau the next time). And the Chicken Tikka starter used to consist of chunks of Tandoor-cooked chicken on a sizzle plate on a bed of fried onions, and scattered with fresh Coriander. With the new chef, it became bite-sized pieces covered in odds drizzles of sauces – one of which was a green Coriander puree – which tasted nothing like Chicken Tikka (we complained about that, too, but it remained). But the main curries were always pretty good.

After Covid, when we started going again, all the staff were strangers, and not as friendly as before. We asked if ownership had changed, but they said ‘no’. We knew something had happened, because it was so different, but everything was so secretive you just never found out the truth. I am guessing that the tough financial times had brought retirement forward for some members of the family, and the younger ones just weren’t interested anymore. My guess is that Sheikh Sujat had already retired when the ‘new chef’ came in. It’s a shame.

I hope Sheikh Assab is all right (and Sheikh Sujat) – as I say, he was a really nice guy, and sometimes we’d talk to him the whole meal (when the idiotic Brexit result came about being one such example).

Being situated next to Rock City and the Royal Concert Hall, it used to be where many of the performers went if they liked curry. As a result, one of the walls was filled with signed photographs of celebrities who had eaten there, many of them A-listers. We’ve seen several bands in there after we’ve been to a show.

The thing about the Mogal – at least until around 2015 – was that it was old-school. It was what an Indian restaurant should be like. Heavy wooden seats, traditional décor, and proper curries. None of this brightly neon-lit ‘contemporary’ crap so many other restaurants move into, or attempts to produce works of art on the plates. Although the décor didn’t change, the food most certainly did at the Mogal – that Chicken Tikka I mentioned was a prime example, and although the chef no doubt thought it looked good, it didn’t taste as good as the original (and proper) version.

Anyway, the big question is: what happens to the place now? The boards say ‘under new management’, but that doesn’t mean anything in Nottingham. The ‘new management’ could easily be a student letting company, and it would come as no surprise to see the place turned into student flats – Nottingham City Council has done that everywhere else in that area, so a restaurant is a bit of an anomaly there.

Surprisingly, Nottingham City Centre doesn’t have many normal Indian restaurants – they’re all ‘contemporary’, or have some ‘angle’, where the chances of getting a decent Vindaloo or Madras are zero, you can’t get Chicken Tikka (but you can get Ostrich Tikka or Salmon Tikka), and the prices are double what you pay anywhere else. And they are a 20 minute walk away, instead of the sub-1 minute trip to the Mogal.

Even if it remains a restaurant, there’s no guarantee it will be an Indian one, and even less guarantee it won’t try and go contemporary.

Fingers crossed.

Update September 2023: The Mogal-e-Azam website has been stating that it is closed for refurbishment for some months. And news from this week reports that they are currently hiring staff (use an ad-blocker for that link).

Update October 2023: Latest news is that it is now reopened.

Geddy and Alex Reunite

This was a great piece of news today. I heard it on Planet Rock News then looked it up when I got home.

Apparently, there was a South Park 25th Anniversary show in the USA. It was a two-night event, and on the second night there was a surprise appearance by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson.

It’s great to see them together again. I really hope they work together, but as Lifeson poignantly says:

We had such a great history and did so much great stuff together, it’s not really a big deal if, for the rest of our lives, we’re just best friends.

I Am Really Missing Live Music

Planet Rock Radio – New Single “'85 ROCKSTAR” – Blackwater ConspiracyRegular readers will know that I usually attend quite a few rock concerts each year. I actually had several lines up for 2020, but they were all cancelled for obvious reasons – and there would have been more. But, by God, am I missing them right now!Joe Bonamassa was cancelled completely. Bad Touch was rescheduled for April this year, but I reckon it will get cancelled again. Hollywood Vampires and George Thorogood were both rescheduled for later this year, but the jury is out on those right now. Most artists are currently scheduling in 2022 at the moment.Planet Rock is my go-to record station. You can find it on DAB, on 105.2 FM in the West Midlands, and on digital TV (0110 on Sky, 924 on Virgin, 730 on Freesat). It’s also available through Android, iPhone and iPad apps. You can also listen online by clicking the image at the top of this article.

Another good source is NOW 70s on Sky. Right now it is on Channel 361 (but it tends to move around a bit depending on Sky’s fairly regular channel reorganisations, and also available on Virgin and Freesat). If you catch it right, there’s lots of rock and punk, but if you get unlucky, there’s far too much disco. I mean, as everyone knows, the best decades for music were the late 60s and the 70s – up until disco ushered in the 80s. And as everyone also knows, the 80s onwards was absolutely crap for music – though if you really must, there is a NOW 80s channel, too (there’s also a NOW 90s, which is worse still, and there were others – but music was so crap in those decades that they were cut, hence Sky’s last channel restructuring around the music channels).Some bands have been doing livestreams during lockdown, and a good place to find out about those is through ENTS24, which is one of the sites I use to find out about upcoming gigs, and where I often book tickets. You can choose which bands or music types you are interested in, and you get immediate and advance alerts of upcoming gigs, often with presales (click beyond the home page). Gigantic is another source of such advance warnings (again, click past the home page to get detailed information).

Then, of course, there good old CD, DVD, and BluRay (and streaming). You can get any band you want that way in whatever format you prefer. I get most of mine from Amazon.

Happy Birthday Rock City

Black Star RidersI saw this article today on the BBC website. Nottingham’s Rock City has turned 40.

Steel Panther (one gig)They’ve been shut down throughout the pandemic, and I’ve been worried they might not survive. It’d be a disaster if they closed for good.

The StranglersIt’s a brilliant venue. I must admit that some of the bands that play there aren’t my cup of tea, but the rock bands certainly are.


Sometimes it’s a case of seeing them before they sell out to pop or rap. Other times, it’s a blast from the past, with bands you maybe grew up with and who are still going strong.

Brothers OsborneThen you get the genuine new bands who are good at what they do. In many cases, they’re big in America, but not so well known here.

HaimThen come the ones who are big here, but not as much so in the rest of the world.

Steel Panther (another time)And then there are the cult bands which most people have never heard of, but who have a huge following meaning they sell out unless you get in quick.

The Darkness - 1I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been now. Sometimes it averages once a month, and I’ve been doing that for many years.

The Cadillac ThreeThis year is one that will go down in infamy for the obvious reasons, but the future is looking a little brighter now as far as the pandemic is concerned.

The Darkness - 2

So here’s looking forward to Rock City’s next 40 years!


RIP Steve Priest Of Sweet

Sweet - Steve Priest on the leftAnother legend from my childhood gone. Sweet were one of the glam rock pioneers in the early 70s, and one of the bands I grew up with.

The 70s was easily the best for music.

Steve Priest – one of the founding members – was the one who wore make-up and big ear-rings. RIP, Steve.

One Gig Down

Bad Touch - rock bandWell, that’s one down. I was due to see Bad Touch next week at the Bodega. I’d heard the band were going to reschedule, and now it’s official – the gig has been rearranged for September.

Fingers crossed things are better by then. This year was gearing up to be a big one, with lots of tickets already purchased. Some of the bigger events, like Joe Bonamassa (almost certainly off) and Hollywood Vampires (later in the year), are more likely to be cancelled than rearranged. George Thorogood, who’s been on my bucket list for years, is currently booked for July, which is borderline right now.

Brothers Osborne @ Rock City, November 2018

Brothers Osborne - wide shotI’ve been to a lot of gigs the last few years, though I haven’t posted any articles about them. I need to do a bit of catching up on that.

Anyway, I went to a brilliant show on Friday at Rock City in Nottingham. After Rush, my favourite genres have to be blues and Southern rock – both of which seem to be very popular these days, and Planet Rock covers them a lot. That was how I came to know bands like Blackberry Smoke, The Cadillac Three, and Brothers Osborne.

Osborne Brothers - wide (2)In fact, I saw The Cadillacs a couple of months ago (hell, it was a year ago!), and Brothers Osborne were supporting them. So, Osbornes announced a headlining tour of their own, I got tickets.

Take a listen to this. They played one of my favourite songs, Copperhead Road, originally written by Steve Earle. They nailed it completely.

It came out of the blue, but I recognised it after the first few drum stomps, just as the mandolin came in.

Brothers Osborne - Jason Graumlich (I think)I have to say that it was easily the best gig I’ve been to in a long time. The crowd was well up for it, and every song was worth listening to. Lots of slide guitar, keyboards, banjos, and mandolins – and extended solos. Although officially a duo, they had an admirable backing band, to whom they gave generous room to perform – the backing guitarist in particular, who I believe is called Jason Graumlich.

The encore seemed unusually long – I haven’t listened to the full recording yet, but there must have been five or more songs. Most bands don’t go above three. But it didn’t matter. It could have gone on for another hour and still been great.

The band seemed awed by the reception. T J Osborne (lead vocals) said that they’d been over here a few times, and if people kept coming to the gigs like this, they’d keep coming back. I’ll certainly be there when they do.

Lucie SilvasThe only slight stain on the night was of our own making – well, my mate’s. That was due to his desire to drink the better beer in the Rescue Rooms instead of the weasel piss you get in the Main Hall. OK, I can relate to that, but it meant we ended up missing all but the last song and a half by the support act, Lucie Silvas. She’s got one hell of a voice, and she went straight on my watch list for her next tour.

I got my own back in the Indian restaurant after, though, where we had the usual decent curry and an argument about Brexit (which I won, as always).

Incidentally, Brothers Osborne performed at Rockstock over the weekend, and they were interviewed by Darren Redick.