The death of Rufus Wainwright's mother, Kate McGarrigle, overshadowed his dark, sometimes somber, starkly melancholy 2010 album All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu. But rather than returning to the grand cabaret and operatic pop that he has long favored for the follow-up, Wainwright hooked up with producer Mark Ronson — who has worked with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Adele — and collaborators like the bristling Dap-Kings, and dove into '70s pop of the Elton John/Harry Nilsson ilk. The effervescence, strong melodies, and vintage pop conceits on Out of the Game don't prevent Wainwright from sending his tenor soaring, working in a few florid touches, or tossing in his characteristically quirky lyrics. "Bitter Tears" invokes a harpsichord-like funky piano breakdown, while the heavy bottom, soulful chorus, and sax in "Raschida" suggest Brit R&B on steroids. "Montauk," meanwhile, addresses his young daughter in a swirling cloud of pop synths while getting positively Loudonian in his take on Wainwright family values. At the zoo, Rufus will be backed by a full band.
Sat., Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m., 2012