I almost didn’t get to see Zach Zoya’s set in Montreal for the first of four consecutive shows at MTELUS. This was due to a combo of bad luck—my Uber driver got rear-ended, causing me to arrive at the venue a few minutes late—and navigating an ocean of music fans who were there to catch both Zoya and headliner Charlotte Cardin.
Turns out my moment of panic was worth it, as Zoya spent 40 minutes showcasing his charisma, talent, and versatility to the sold-out crowd. Performing with a four-piece band while rocking sunglasses and a dapper blue blazer, the Montreal-via-Rouyn-Noranda singer/rapper did well to satisfy the Cardin fans who he was quickly winning over as his own. With the crowd waving their arms in unison as though he was the headliner, Zoya showed he can sing reggae-tinged R&B tunes (e.g. “Start Over”, “Strangers in the House”) and spit triplet-flow rhymes over contemporary beats (e.g. “Slurpee”, “Who Dat”) with equal amounts of confidence.
Zoya would also frequently code-switch between English and French during his stage banter. If that isn’t peak Montreal, I don’t know what is. The rising star proved he’s a more than capable frontman with the stage presence to match his band’s energy, and left the crowd transfixed and energized by the time he was done.