April 29th, 2019
By Brock Radke
So many great bands have made the Strip their home through the years, turning casino lounges and showrooms into the most buzzed-about parties in Las Vegas. The must-see band of the moment is the Bronx Wanderers, who paid their Vegas dues for the last two years at Bally’s intimate Windows Showroom and recently slid into the Mat Franco Theater at the Linq, a larger space that can feel a little cavernous without some serious energy.
Don’t worry. These guys have energy to spare. The Bronx Wanderers is a celebration of American rock and roll and the story of one musical family, told through their favorite songs (and yours) with plenty of laughs and memories along the way.
After a pre-show video provides a bit of backstory, the six-piece starts things off, of course, with “The Wanderer,” originally recorded by Dion, who hails from the same Italian-American Bronx neighborhood as Vinny Adinolfi, the longtime record producer now living his dream performing on the Strip. He sings, tells stories and plays guitar, anchoring the show, while his sons Vin A. and Nicky scorch the stage with band mates David Braun on guitar, Fernando Torte on bass and Joe Bari on horns and keyboards.
This is the second generation of the Bronx Wanderers, which originated with some of Adinolfi’s older peers and has toured the country for years, but it’s one of the tightest outfits playing the Strip these days and the groups’s mastery of some challenging rock classics - everything from Billy Joel’s “Scenes From an Italian Restaurant” to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” - is beyond impressive. The set bounces between dad’s picks (Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Neil Diamond, Elvis) and songs for the boys (the Stray Cats “Rock This Town”) and nobody misses a beat. It doesn’t matter what genre of era the songs are coming from, if it’s a hit, these guys can play it with power.
The dynamic between Vinny, Nicky on the drums and Vin A on piano, vocals and guitar is familiar and effortlessly entertaining; they take the music seriously but not so much themselves. A while back they added a two-song medley acknowledging U.S. veterans and service people (The Animals’ “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Fortunate Son”) and it resonates emotionally while straight-up rocking the house. You’ll only get a better version of “Fortunate Son” in Las Vegas when John Fogerty is in town at Encore Theater.
There are sing-alongs and stories about Wayne Newton and Paul Anka. There’s surf rock and “Johnny B. Goode” and Bruno Mars. There’s more music than you can handle and when it’s all over, you’ll feel like you’re part of the family.
The Bronx Wanderers take the stage at 4 p.m. Sunday, 9:15 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday (dark Saturdays) at the Mat Franco Theater at the Linq.