Bronx Wanderers star in open-ended Vegas residency where Elvis once performed

BRONX LAUGHING
Known for their stage presence and high energy performances, The Bronx Wanderers deliver 90 minutes of high-octane family-friendly Rock ‘n Roll music during an open-ended residency in Las Vegas. 
Photo courtesy Bronx Wanderers

Vegas is back in full swing, and the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is serving a show that’s the talk of the town, thanks to the band hailing straight from the Bronx.

Known for their stage presence and high energy performances, The Bronx Wanderers deliver 90 minutes of a high-octane family-friendly Rock ‘n Roll music during an open-ended residency at the Westgate, which kicked off Sept. 20, 2021. The show starts with a montage of video clips about everything Bronx, where scenes from Italian mobster movies to more recognized streets in the Bronx are used in part to set the stage for Bronx native Vinny Adinolfi Sr.

The Wanderers take people on a musical journey through Adinolfi Sr.’s vibrant showbiz career, which started at the age of 17 and led him to become one of the top music producers at Columbia Records for more than 25 years. Having always dreamt of being a star, at the encouragement of his friend and actor Chazz Palminteri, Adinolfi Sr. finally took a leap of faith, recruited his two young sons, Nick and “The Kid” Vinny Jr., and started his own band.

The band has performed everywhere from casinos to major performing arts centers around the country. While they began the residency at the Westgate during the pandemic, Adinolfi Sr. and his son, Adinolfi Jr., are excited for the future.

Their show is in the top five out of 211 shows in Vegas, having won the Best of Las Vegas Awards 12 times and were recently inducted into the East Coast Music Hall of Fame.

“The whole point of the Bronx Wanderers is we wanted to create a show for everybody,” Adinolfi Jr. told the Bronx Times.

Adinolfi Sr., 63, was born and raised on Arthur Avenue and has been immersed in the music industry for decades. He was in the studio when legends like Billy Joel and Michael Jackson recorded songs. But when Sony bought Columbia records in 1988, he was let go and at age 40 was left unemployed.

He was overqualified and couldn’t find a job. So, struggling with what to do, he eventually launched the Bronx Wanderers in 2003 with his sons and a couple of friends. Adinolfi Sr. said he had a five-year plan and didn’t know how well the band would work with 10- and 14-year-old sons. Yet, nearly 20 years later, reality has surpassed his expectations.

“I didn’t think it would work because they were too young,” Adinolfi Sr. said.

Adinolfi Jr., 33, who is the music director for the Bronx Wanderers, told the Bronx Times that like his father, he always loved music. He was in a band in college and when his dad pitched the idea of forming the Bronx Wanderers, it was too good to pass up.

“Music was always around me in life,” he said.

Adinolfi Sr. sings and play guitar and his son is the group’s keyboard player, lead singer and guitarist.

According to Adinolfi Sr., things were challenging at first because the boys wanted to play songs from bands like Green Day and the Foo Fighters, while he preferred music from the likes of Frankie Vallie.

They started playing small shows in the Bronx and Westchester, and slowly began making a name for themselves. Eventually, the Wanderers were performing throughout the country and even recently opened for Bon Jovi.

The show doesn’t just feature chart-topping cover songs that range from the early ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, but also includes a bit of comedy, references his father’s life in the Bronx, and overall keeps the crowd laughing, smiling and entertained.

The Bronx Wanderers in front of the Westgate hotel. Photo courtesy Bronx Wanderers

In 2016 they first picked up a Vegas residency and have been there ever since.

They performed at various casinos and hotels, starting with Bally’s, Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino and Harrah’s Las Vegas. Then, in 2020, they landed a permanent show at Bally’s – Las Vegas and a show with The LINQ Hotel + Experience in 2021.

Today, the band is comprised of Adinolfi Sr., Adinolfi Jr., saxophonist Joe Bari, drummer Mike Benigno and bassist Fernando Tort.

“Believe it nor not, it’s always gotten better and better,” Adinolfi Jr. said. “We’ve never hated each other enough to quit.”

While they have enjoyed playing at the Westgate where Elvis once rocked the house, 2021 and the beginning of this year was tough because of the lingering effects of the pandemic. There were no shows allowed from March 2020 until September 2021. The father and son both said it was a weird time.

However, they did not let the pandemic stop them from working; they did virtual shows and even released their sixth album.

“It was pretty amazing not to see anyone,” the elder Adinolfi said about Las Vegas. “It was a ghost town.”

Looking back, he still cannot believe he went from producing hit records at Columbia to performing with his sons all over the country.

He said if it wasn’t for Palminteri’s advice in the beginning who knows where he would be today.

“He (Palminteri) said listen it will work, and he was right and here we are 17 years later,” Adinolfi Sr. said.

Reach Jason Cohen at jcohen@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes

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