Thursday's must-see shows

Ryan Leslie at S.O.B.'s
Ryan Leslie's songs are sleek, synth-driven productions, but his presentation evokes the dignified showmanship of the Motown era. We predict this astute musician-producer is on the verge of exploding—catch him at a small venue while you can.

Lowdown Hudson Blues Festival at World Financial Center Plaza
This Thursday is something of a freebie spectacular, beginning with this all-new blues and roots celebration that goes through Saturday. Tonight's affair features veteran singer Taj Mahal and sultry roots chanteuse Amy LaVere.

Africa Bambaataa at Le Poisson Rouge
Iconic Zulu Nation factotum Afrika Bambaataa faces off against synth-happy Latin groove slinger Chico Mann in this formidable DJ throwdown. If your hips don't rock out of their sockets here, check your pulse.

Mary Wilson at Coney Island (West 21st St and Surf Ave)
Mary Wilson, one of the original Supremes, brings those glorious Motown hits to Coney Island for an evening of free outdoor soulful delights. Thank you, Mayor Marty!

Jos James at BAM at MetroTech Commons
Head to the gratis BAM R&B Festival at MetroTech this afternoon to enjoy Jos James's smoky voice, suave demeanor, and funky soul-jazz sound.

Broadway in Bryant Park 2011
This edition of Bryant Park's annual summer series of free weekly performances spotlights Anything Goes, The Phantom of the Opera, The Fantasticks, Hair and Traces.

Billy Bragg at City Winery
If a big free show is not your cup of tea, check out British folk hero Billy Bragg at City Winery (his three-night run ends tomorrow).