Best Weekend Performance: That Girl Dre and Drew Davis bring soul back to the Cactus Cafe

Deep in the heart of Guadalupe Street, lays the 36-year-old bar that doubles as a live music venue: Cactus Cafe. The Cafe’s legendary acoustics and atmosphere headlined the raw, natural and local talent of That Girl Dre on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 8). I was delighted to hold a conversation with Dre Mazzenga before the show began and never have I met an artist so welcoming, pleasant and radiant. She greeted and introduced herself to every person she met and was thriving off adrenaline. Her spirit was contagious… and I was anxious to see what would happen next.

Drew Davis and her Intimate Vocal Trio

The night began with the musical stylings of Drew Davis, another Austin-based musician, whose vocals were so powerful and so full of soul that everyone in the audience was glued to her presence. She was accompanied by her piano, two backup singers and towards the end of her set: a saxophone. Her lyrics were undeniably poetic and her smoky voice matched perfectly. Each song told its own story and gave the performance a certain personal touch that is hard to find in today’s over-commercialized scene.

That Girl Dre: Music packaged just for the soul.

Next up was the fiery and energetic quartet led by front woman Dre Mazzenga. The set began with a statement piece that captivated the small, but packed, venue. They continued, throughout the set, to engage the audience with high energy, impressive guitar solos and evoking beats. Sound waves that hailed from the 1960’s to modern pop-rock, were fluctuating all around, and I couldn’t have been anymore content. Mid-show, Mazzenga stood on the stage by herself to perform a heart wrenching ballad that showed a more vulnerable side of the blonde powerhouse. The Top Unsigned Artist of 2015 (awarded by the Recording Conservatory of Austin) proved herself to be one of the best and striking talents the Live Music Capital of the World can offer. A combination of new and old with a backbone of soul, the inspiring That Girl Dre has definitely made it my list of the top 3 musicians to see. The ambience of the classic, intimate and living room like performance filled me with nostalgia once the night was over.

I can not wait to see what the future holds for this empowering group. Even amongst the hectic ACL shenanigans, That Girl Dre definitely earned On Vinyl Music’s Best Performance of the Weekend.