Lesli Wood, her short, asymmetrical hairstyle streaked with fire engine red, is rarely still on stage. She claps, she jumps and, now, with her new band, The Redwood Plan, she dances.
After a decade spent at the helm of Seattle punk act Ms. Led, Wood is now wrapping up her first year with The Redwood Plan, the dance-rock quartet she formed with several other mainstays of the Seattle's rock scene. Her crowds have traded mosh pits for hip-shaking, but the Lesli Wood that earned a reputation as the political rabble-rousing lead singer of Ms. Led still rocks.She still rocks, that is, when she's on tour, like she'll be this week when she comes to Bend's Players Bar and Grill on Friday, but during most days, Wood, like so many of us, is behind a desk. You see, though her mostly black clothes and aforementioned distinct haircut might not suggest it, Wood is an attorney and has been for the past five years.
Even though she's a professional, she is very much still a part of the Seattle music scene, with the city's rock critics lamenting the loss of Ms. Led but championing the new, more melodic, more vibrant sound of The Redwood Plan. So far, the change has been a good one.
"Ms Led was a very outspoken political band and well known in the riot girl scene and always had a platform for each of the albums," says Wood, taking a break from work last week to lob a call our way, "But with The Redwood Plan, I wanted it to be a more fun band, so people could enjoy the music. It's not that [Ms. Led's music] wasn't valid, I just wanted to do something different," she says.
The music of the Redwood Plan, is in the vein of the increasingly populated camp of bands like The Faint that have taught those with angst-filled 1990s rock and roll upbringings how to dance, but that comparison itself doesn't do Redwood Plan justice. While employing mostly booty-wiggling bass lines and snappy beats, there still remains an underlying punk foundation to the band's sound and onstage energy, which can be heard on its latest EP, the delightfully titled Movers Shakers Makers.
Yes, the band is somewhat difficult to catalog, but one classification Wood doesn't want to hear is anything that has to do with the fact that three-fourths of her band happens to be female.
"Sometimes, the girl band label comes first and that irritates me to no end. I'm not denying that we're women, but we're four experienced musicians who have played in bands that have traveled the world. I really don't want to be marginalized just by our gender," says a slightly fired-up Wood.
Labels aside, Wood says that she and her band are having a good time with this relatively new yet much-buzzed-about act that had songs chart on the uber-hip Seattle radio station, KEXP, which is heard around the world over the Internet. Where as her politically charged Ms. Led-era aggression may have intimated some, there's plenty of smiles and fun - presumably more fun than working on the personal injury cases her other career requires of her - to be found amidst the poppier Redwood Plan.
"We have fun onstage and it's our intention to have a good time - we make eye contact and smile at each other," says Wood. "There was a show when I turned to [drummer Betty ST] and gave her devil horns while mouthing that we were killing it."
She pauses, clearly thinking about what she just said, then continues with a laugh.
"Well, there may have been a few other words thrown in there."
The Redwood Plan, Yenn
9pm Saturday, January 16. Player's Bar and Grill, 25 SW Century Dr.