By Shannon E Johnson
The Patti Lattanzi Billy Carlucci and the Gang Variety Show originally got its start more than a decade ago in 2001. Airing out of New Jersey on WVLT Cruisin’ 92.1, it still pulls a decent audience and has fans. It’s a relatively mixed–although certainly not regrettable–entertainment bag.
This radio program is taped live at Filomena Cucina Rustica Italian Restaurant & Bar. The good thing about this is that the atmosphere of the show is incredibly relaxed. Patti and the rest of the crew look and sound like old friends connecting over good food and drinks–because that’s exactly what the program is. This impression of genuineness fits the oldies theme of WVLT, reminding listeners of a simpler, less hurried time when auto-tune wasn’t automatically applied to artists’ tracks. It rubs off on the people in the audience, who seem to let down their guard and respond with genuine enthusiasm.
Even as Patti does a good job of keeping things stress-free, rolling with the punches with experienced professionalism, she seems well aware of her role as “Intensity Control Manager”. She thoughtfully arranges the appearances of guests so that the energy level doesn’t dip or surge too much.
Looking more specifically at the guests on the show, most are of considerable talent, although some are admittedly better than others. With the likes of Greg Martiello. Vic Rubino, Lou “The Shoe” Porecca and Tommy Delcorio, Jr. gracing the stage, the performances are always full of energy. The bookings stay true to the “variety” title of the program. They all have a classic, era-gone-by vibe, but you can hear everything from Sinatra-esque croonings to bluegrass to R&B.
In general, listening to or watching a taping of The Patti Lattanzi Billy Carlucci & the Gang Show is worth the time. You’ll hear some wonderful musicians who appear to have sincere love for their art. You do, however, need to have a penchant for the oldies style, and you have to be willing and open to the variety of the acts–that’s just the nature of the variety show genre.