Last Resort smiling for the camera before their recent gig at The Six Six BarSusie Kirsten

At their recent gig at The Six Six Bar, Last Resort delivered a barrage of indie bangers with ferocious energy and an uncanny ability to charm the crowd. By the end of their performance, frontman Zaki Lim’s gangster glasses long since flung into the crowd, the audience was crying for an encore – and all this while lead guitarist Sean Conrad had his arm in a cast.

Formed in 2021, the group are primarily a covers band but have just started to introduce originals into their setlist. Lim met keyboardist Connor McAteer, whose role is bizarrely to play basslines on a synthesiser, at an open-mic night: “this guy came up to me and said, ‘we should start a band’ and then just disappeared.” After eventually tracking McAteer down, Lim recruited Conrad and found drummer Saksham Shah through Instagram. Although they did not all know each other initially, the band “hit it off straight away”.

“Although they did not all know each other initially, the band ‘hit it off straight away’”

When it came to band names, however, they did not necessarily see eye to eye. “Our original name was Empty Classroom, which I still prefer to be honest,” Lim says indignantly, “but the other band members’ friends kept saying it was a s**t name”. Inspired by the band Last Dinosaurs, they eventually settled on the name Last Resort. Lim likes that it lowers people’s expectations: “if we’re called Last Resort, you expect us to be s**t”.

This kind of self-deprecation is typical from Lim, who goes on to say that, while McAteer is a “musical genius”, “realistically I’m not that talented but I can put on a show.” Overall, he gives a chaotic impression of the band: “we don’t do soundchecks, Connor doesn’t even know the bassline, he just plays random s**t, Sean’s guitar is always out of tune...” However, things are looking up. “We’ve got pedals now, which is a big thing for us,” Lim laughs.

A rare soundcheck for Last Resort at The Six Six BarSusie Kirsten

This feeling of inadequacy, whether deserved or not, is what inspired the band to focus on the performative aspects of their show. “It was a Sidney Bar gig that kickstarted us becoming a hype band,” Lim reveals, explaining that he felt compelled to adopt a persona to avoid embarrassing himself in front of his college mates. Consequently, his favourite song to play is ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ by Jet because of its ability to energise any audience. “The crowd doesn’t care if it sounds good,” he admits, “they just want it to be something they know.”

Yet this attitude has led to disagreements within the band, with McAteer often wanting to include fewer mainstream tracks on the setlist. “There are definitely stubborn figures in the band, including myself,” Lim admits. Nevertheless, Conrad and Shah are always able to smooth things over thanks to their slightly less perfectionist tendencies.

“It was a Sidney Bar gig that kickstarted us becoming a hype band”

One issue that occasionally causes clashes within the group is writing originals. “Connor just mashes them out,” Lim explains, “we’re cooking up a potential five but we never have time to finish them.” According to Conrad, their sound is “really varied”, ranging from metal to pop-punk and funk. As for Shah’s effort, he laughs, that’s a bit “cult-y and weird.”

When I ask about their favourite moment performing in Cambridge, Lim is indecisive: “Sid Bar was the best. No, actually, crowd surfing.” Eventually, he decides against crowd surfing, remembering that a security guard grabbed his leg to stop him from moving, causing the audience to drop him.

Their worst movement would have to be their initial gig on the hottest day of the year: “I was like, ‘Everyone stand up!’ but everyone just stayed sitting down.” That, or the Big Audition Weekend, when Lim’s borrowed guitar broke halfway through ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’. “Afterwards, I had to go to my room and just stare at the ceiling for two hours,” he laughs, “I was quite confident going into it, which I think is why it broke me so much.”


Mountain View

Q&A: Lizzie Mayland from The Last Dinner Party

Their advice for bands that are just getting started is not to wait until you sound perfect before booking shows because you learn a lot through the process. College bars are always desperate for performers but “you have to be proactive about finding gigs.” They also recommend weekly practices and professional social media accounts before admitting: “we say this stuff but we don’t do it. We just botch our way through things.”

Earlier, however, Lim came closer to the truth: “we’ve built a rep by grinding out gigs and putting on a good show”. Indeed, despite all their self-criticism, they are each incredibly talented performers. If you want to seem them in action, you should visit Christ’s Bar on November 10th or Grandma Groove on January 23rd.