Music Scene: SUSTO, Wormbelly, Uncle Mingo, Donavon Frankenreiter


Most creatives will tell you that to craft compelling stories, you must first live a compelling life. Travel, see the world anew; don't fear danger or failure, let it teach you instead; experience the foreign without losing sight of your roots.

For a songwriter, it's a way to find the truth in themselves and in their stories.

It's what singer-songwriter Justin Osborne strives for with his new project, the Americana, self-proclaimed "cosmic country" group SUSTO.

Before the 20-something was fronting SUSTO, he was fronting the popular alt-rock band Sequoyah Prep School, a band that found regional success performing with Phantom Planet, Anberlin, Colour Revolt, Better Than Ezra and others.

After Prep School disbanded in 2013, Osbourne spent a semester in Havana, where he played with locals and gleaned as much as he could from the culture and music of a nation long vilified by his own.

When he returned to Charleston, Osbourne began to form SUSTO's current lineup of Gordon Keiter, Jordan Igoe, Johnny Delaware, Corey Campbell and Matt Lohan.

Osbourne and company released SUSTO's self-titled debut in April with the help of producer and Brave Baby drummer Wolfgang Zimmerman.

SUSTO will perform Thursday at The Royal American, 970 Morrison Drive, with Dear Blanca and Amigo. Admission is a $5 cover at the door. The show starts at 9 p.m.

Go to or call 817-6925 for more information.

Getting its start in 1997, Charleston's Wormbelly skull-smacked the local scene with its offbeat brand of rock, funk, punk, hip-hop and live show theatrics (i.e., fire-breathing, stage diving, man thongs, mania-inducing lighting, hair shaved into a star, light cannons for fists, etc.). It was the '90s, after all.

It was a time when bands were somewhat divided into two groups: the ones manufactured by major labels to follow a proven success formula and the ones that formed without a script or strategy and only wanted to be as creatively liberated as possible.

Wormbelly fell into the latter group with its relaxed approach to writing truthful music representative of its member's diverse tastes. The result was a sound completely unlike any other, and a following that built into a kind of feverish craving for more.

The band released two well-received albums, "Demolition Supersize" and "The Guf"; played hundreds of shows; released a live DVD; played hundreds more shows; then, in 2005, called it quits after becoming, as they very understandably put it, "worn out."

Last year, the members, most of them from the original line-up, reconnected on Facebook and got together a few times to play for old time's sake. For some, it was the first time they had seen each other in 13 years.

The chemistry must have proven itself preserved as the former bandmates decided to reunite for a live show or two, maybe more.

Wormbelly will perform Saturday at the Tin Roof, 1117 Magnolia Road, with progressive metal trio Coda. Tickets are $5 at the door. The 9 p.m. show is for ages 21 and up.

For more, call 571-0775.

Charleston funk-rock quartet Uncle Mingo became a local party band favorite in the early '90s before finding national success with the release of "Little Baby Brother" in 1996 and the re-release of "Fatty Mookie Mo' Booty" on Autonomous Records in 1997.

Their distinct style of funk, rock, punk and blues has been compared to the likes of early Red Hot Chili Peppers and Primus, but the longtime Charleston-based group has existed as a true original in the regional scene for decades.

Uncle Mingo will appear Friday at The Windjammer, 1008 Ocean Blvd., with McKenna Andrews. Tickets are $10 and are available online at or at the door. Doors open at 8 p.m.

Call 886-8948 or go to the venue's website for more.

Donavon Frankenreiter began his life in the spotlight as a professional surfer. After signing a sponsorship deal with Billabong at 16, Frankenreiter began traveling extensively, which eventually led him to Oahu, Hawaii.

It was there that Frankenreiter began renting a room from the parents of fellow surfer and aspiring musician Jack Johnson. The pair struck up an immediate friendship, and Johnson would later produce Frankenreiter's 2004 self-titled solo debut.

His surf-influenced, dance-rock style has since produced eight albums and several well-received singles, such as "Move by Yourself," "Life, Love & Laughter" and "Free."

His current solo album, "Start Livin'," was released in 2012.

Frankenreiter will perform Wednesday at the Music Farm, 32 Ann St., with Makua Rothman. Tickets are $15-$20 and are available at the door or online at Doors open at 8 p.m. with the show starting at 9 p.m.

Go to or call 577-6989 for more.

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