Music

Old-School Feels New With The Bronx Wanderers at The Linq

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.

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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.

Q&A: VINNY "VIN A." ADINOLFI III

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BY BROCK RADKE 
FEBRUARY 8, 2019

Consisting of father Vinny Adinolfi, his sons Nicky and Vin and their high-energy backing band, the Bronx Wanderers trekked from New York to Las Vegas in 2016 and immediately began building a reputation for one of the most rollicking rock shows on the Strip. Covering everything and everyone from Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons to Bruno Mars, BW’s 90-minute sensation outgrew its first Vegas home at Bally’s and has relocated to The Linq, taking the stage at the Mat Franco Theater six nights a week. Las Vegas Magazine's Brock Radke caught up with singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Vinny “Vin A.” Adinolfi III to find out where this unique, genre- and era-spanning act is going from here.

You’ve been performing in Las Vegas for more than two years, but how long have the Bronx Wanderers been the thing for you?

Since birth! I’m just kidding. The Bronx Wanderers started in 2006 with my brother and I and my dad and his friends. He got a bunch of cool people from the neighborhood to do the band with us, guys from the Earls and the Regents and the Tokens. My brother and I were the only two young dudes. We started progressing and were eventually playing 250 dates a year, just always on the road, and the guys never got to see their families where we were lucky because we were with our family. So they had to leave. But I told my dad, don’t worry about it, Nicky and I had our own band. So now it was a 50-year-old musician going on the road with a bunch of 18-year-olds and everybody loved it.

And you eventually decided you wanted to do a show in Las Vegas. Why was that so important?

Mainly it was for my dad. I was young and had no idea of the whole Vegas thing, but I liked the idea of having people come to you as opposed to you going to them. Dad was a record executive for 30 years and he looked up to Wayne Newton and the Rat Pack and Tom Jones and it was his dream to be one of those guys. We had no idea it would work out. I’d ever seen my dad so excited as when he’d get on that elevator at Bally’s every day and Wayne Newton was in the same elevator going to do his show. He was just, “Can you believe this? Do you kids even know the gravity of this?”

You just moved the show into the larger Mat Franco Theater at The Linq. It’s a big move.

We’re excited and nervous about it. The team (at The Linq) told us, “Just do what you’re doing. You’ve earned this.” And Mat Franco couldn’t have been cooler. That kind of support has been a calming force. And we’re adding a bunch of new stuff to the show, new screens, new costumes and adding a lot of new moments to the show. We can’t wait for people to see this new installment.

There’s so much energy at that property right now. Does the excitement from other new features at the Linq carry over to you guys?

Oh yeah. They just added that new zipline (The FlyLinq) and it’s bringing a ton of people and there’s a new convention center under construction. It’s a really cool location right between Harrah’s and the Flamingo which is kind of our demo, but we’ve got a bunch of young guys in the band and we’re hoping more young people will come to the show. My whole goal with Bronx Wanderers is to get an age group from 8 to 88, to have something for everybody. It’s not an easy task but when you do it right, it’s so rewarding.

What about adapting off the stage? Do you feel you’ve become a real local Las Vegan?

I immediately fell in love with Las Vegas because there’s so much going on musically. It’s not like anywhere else. But I’ve definitely been able to do some fun stuff when I have time. I really like going to Giada and having a nice glass of wine. I’m pretty tight with Anthony Cools and he brought me to Axe Monkeys (an indoor axe throwing range). One of my favorite things out here is Musashi, this really cool (teppanyaki) restaurant that’s open until 4 a.m. This town is a lot like New York where everything is open 24/7, it’s just a lot more chill. New York has that anxious vibe where people are rushing around even when they don’t need to be somewhere.