Girls on The Avenue: Former Queenstowner Melanie Forbes, left, is back in the resort with Tania Bowra from Oz


Gig goers can expect some digital wizardry when Girls on The Avenue take to the stage this Saturday.

As well as guitar, vocals and keys, the duo – including former Queenstowner Melanie Forbes – will use smartphones to create grooves and beats.

Forbes is no rookie to the Queenstown music scene.

She was based here for more than five years in the late 80s and early 90s playing in a number of different bands, including Mango.

Along with her sister, councillor Alexa Forbes, and the late Kevin Thomas, she gigged around the resort complete with sequins, ra-ra skirt and volumes of hairspray.

They regularly played The Dolphin Club, now Club 88, on Shotover Street. She reckons there are some stories to tell.

Queenstown has always felt like home and she is stoked to play The Sherwood on Saturday.

Tania Bowra from across the Tasman will join her on stage.

The pair have played together previously in a couple of different bands but Girls on The Avenue is a new project.

Old school: Melanie Forbes, left, played in 80s band Mango, with the late Kevin Thomas and her sister Alexa Forbes
Old school: Melanie Forbes, left, played in 80s band Mango, with the late Kevin Thomas and her sister Alexa Forbes

“We have been solo artists in our own right and we have come together to collaborate. Me with my darker, introspective songwriting style, and Tania with her groove and more soul vibe. [Together] bringing the best out of both styles.”

Forbes, who is now based in Sydney, explains the gig will be made up of a variety of music.
Some of her tunes with a twist, some of Tania’s with new harmonies, and a couple of new tracks.

The pair, who are both music teachers in Australia, have written a couple of numbers that will make their debut in Queenstown; Drive, Business of Love and Sovereign Border, a nod to Australia’s attitude to immigration and refugees.

For her words don’t always come easily. It comes down to a lot of practice and a bit of eavesdropping.

“It is really interesting how they come. I can’t force a lyric. Always remember to take note of what you are hearing around you.”

She hasn’t performed in Queenstown in over five years and is ready to entertain the crowd.
“There will some really good stories. A witty repertoire and some interactive guitar . . . A lot of riffing and parts entwined. We really think about the parts we are playing and singing. Some beautiful harmonies; great brutish guitar playing and a few digital tricks.”

The Queenstown gig is the first of four across the South Island including Luggate and Twizel before finishing off in Christchurch.

Girls on The Avenue play The Sherwood, Saturday. Tickets $15.