Angel's Lexington was fairly heaving by the time I got there, with an expectant crowd waiting to witness the latest spot of extra-curricular activity by Portishead's Geoff Barrow. I made it just in time to catch Gyratory System, a rather good little combo who mixed saxophone and distorted trumpet with a few choice beats. They reminded me of one-time Factory signing Biting Tongues, who featured a pre-808 State Graham Massey, and particularly the horn-driven track 'Compressor'.

For the appearance of Anika, the lights were dimmed so that the stage was plunged into near darkness, which kind of set the mood for the rest of the night. For those not familiar, Anika is a Berlin-based political journalist and music promoter who hooked up with Geoff Barrowâ's BEAK> project, and the resulting collaboration spawned a mightily impressive dub odyssey.

Dressed all in black, Anika took to the stage, flanked by her musicians (including Barrow on keyboards and guitar with BEAK> band-mate Billy Fuller on bass, though I couldn't tell if the drummer was indeed the final member of said trio, Matt Williams). The set was basically a run through of the self-titled album, mainly strangely familiar covers rendered completely alien by some seriously King Tubby style reverb laden, bass heavy dub, with Anika's accented intonation of the lyrics and her almost statuesque stage presence drawing obvious comparisons with ill-fated chanteuse Nico.

As with the album, the set opened with the slightly surreal cover of Twinkle's early 60's pop hit 'Terry', which live sounded even more like a weird mash-up with Iggy Pop's 'Nightclubbing'. 'End Of The World' (which has been done by practically everyone) was given a full ESG-style minimal funk treatment, whilst there was a sweeping 'I Go To Sleep' (written by the Kinks' Ray Davies but most well known via the Pretenders). Yoko Ono's 'Yang Yang' (probably the most obscure of the covers) was suitably bonkers and Bob Dylan's 'Masters of War' was simply immense, with Fuller's bass juddering through the PA. Of the original numbers, 'Officer Officer' was another homage to the Bronx's Scroggins sisters and 'No One's There' was a paranoid dub reggae workout, with Barrow in fiery form on guitar.

I did get the feeling that there was a bit of a strange vibe coming from the audience. The room was packed, but there didn't seem to be that much connection with what was going on stage, it all felt very Shoreditch. I don't know if it was because there were a sizeable amount of too-cool-for-schoolers in the crowd, or whether it was because people didn't really know what to expect. Most of the crowd just seemed pretty static throughout (except yours truly, who somehow managed to spill about half a pint of his own lager up his arm in his enthusiasm). Anika and her band are a full-on experience live, and they ploughed on relentlessly through the songs (breaking only when Barrow dashed offstage to retrieve another can of beer), and there was only a brief acknowledgement to the audience towards the end of the set. Barrow looked as though he had been enjoying the pre-gig refreshments a bit too much, and you could certainly tell what he thought about the crowd's reaction, lip reading his off-mic outburst was certainly not for the faint hearted!

The set finished to a slightly muted cheer from the audience, it was either mass bemusement, or they were just shell-shocked. It was a shame, really, as I though Anika and her band were really good. I hadn't been to a gig that intense (or that dark, in a very literal sense) for a while, so if you do ever manage to catch them live, brace yourself!