Johanna Went - Club Years(DVD & CD) [Soleilmoon Recordings - 2007]Just when you thought your heard/seen some pretty bizarre and off kilter stuff, then some one like Johanna Went comes along with her jagged musical mix of punk, no-wave, Jazz and Residents like oddness- all topped off with strange acid tinged devil speaking in tongues vocals. But the real thing that makes her stand out from the odd and bizarre ground is her performance art, which is documented here in the hour and twenty minute long collection of her Performance art from late 70’s to late 80’s.
I guess as its called here Stream of consciousness performance art would be the best label, as you get throw so many strange ideas and costumes in each of her 8 performances on offer here. Each consisting of her either changing into a myriad of bizarre costumes and polystyrene structures. Or cover her self in reels and reels of paper or break through paper- all at a manic pace. She performs bizarre theatrics like attacking 8 foot men dolls, pulling their heads off, attacking and eating the genitals of bizarre sex doll/ voodoo dolls, putting huge fake blood soaked tampon on her head and genral throw her self around in a strange manic and demented manner as she scream, wails and talks in tongue - think a very deranged female Alice cooper on bad acid. As the band behind her pull out jerky avant-garde mix of jazz, electronics, punk, no-wave, percussion chaos.
The second disk brings together an hours worth of her bizarre and chaotic musically crossbreed, which has some interesting ideas and the feeling of not quite sure what she’ll and her mad band will throw at you next, but ultimately much of it seems a little flat and life-less with out her energetic and derange performances.
To see performance art at it’s most demented, disturbing and jar-droppingly odd, I don’t think you’ll find anyone as 100 % committed to throwing her body, soul and mind into her Work. And this double disk set is a wonderful and bizarre introduction and emersion in her world. And it’s the closet that most could or would want to get to her mad, mad world.Roger Batty