Left to right: Kenny Leiser, Lucas Cates, Jesse Warmka and Mark Noxon are The Lucas Cates Band. The band will open Shenanigan's spring and summer outdoor entertainment. - Photo courtesy of Kenny Leiser

The Lucas Cates Band at Shenanigan's

The Lucas Cates Band never needs to worry about getting stuck in a music rut because the band never plays the same song twice, and they're known to play five genres of music in a single set.

The quartet from Madison, Wis., doesn't let their genres intermingle. If they play country, it's pure country, same with reggae, rock, punk and jazz, says Kenny Leiser, the band's guitarist and fiddler.

"We all love so many different styles of music," he says. "There's not much we don't like, so the styles are stronger from song to song."

The full-time band has toured extensively over the past two years, performing more than 200 gigs in 2009.

The band will perform its 49th show of 2010 at 9 p.m. Thursday, April 1, at Shenanigan's Irish Pub, 404 E. Main St., Medford. Their 50th performance will be at 9 p.m. Friday, April 2, at Alex's Plaza Restaurant, 35 N. Main St., Ashland.

"We're definitely one of Madison's hardest working bands," Leiser says.

Besides Leiser, the Lucas Cates Band includes Jesse Warmka on drums and percussion, Mark Noxon on bass and, of course, Lucas Cates, the guitarist, vocalist and songwriter.

When asked for a less comprehensive description of its style, the band has settled for being called an "acoustic rock band."

"It sounds like an electric rock band, but all the songs are driven by Lucas' acoustic guitar," Leiser says.

The group has played together for two-and-a-half years and released three full-length albums. Their fourth is scheduled to be released this summer or early fall. Albums are "Contradictory" (2006), "All the Pieces" (2008) and "Lucas Cates and Kenny Leiser Live from Jenson Hall," an acoustic performance featuring Cates and Leiser.

The band's music differs from studio to stage.

"In an album, we're typically focused on our song," Leiser says. "It's kind of unusual to put a super-long solo in a recorded tune ... but when we play live, we can expand that and that's where we get the improv."

He says the band keeps things fresh by allowing its members to improvise during solos to avoid the monotony of playing a song over and over throughout the year.

"You might watch us seven nights in a row. Every night you might hear the same structure, but you'll hear a different performance," Leiser says. "It keeps us going as much as our listeners."

There is no cover for the band's performance at Shenanigan's. The show begins the pub's seasonal outdoor entertainment. Call 541-773-5535.

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