"That guy with the cross on the corner of 12th Street and Q
"told me I'm going to hell. I said, buddy, I'm no worse than you.
"I'd love to chat more, but I'm late for my movie.
"Don't you have better things to do?"
Anyone who's been downtown on a weekend night knows exactly what Brad Hoffman is singing about in "Liquor Store," which is the last song on the excellent new CD from The Killigans, "Honor."
Formed in 2004, The Killigans are fixtures on the local scene and are known for delivering propulsive, passionate shows. With "Honor," the six-piece band has made a record that lives up to what they do live.
At its core an Irish punk outfit a la The Pogues and Flogging Molly, The Killigans go beyond the genre, bringing country, folk and American rock 'n' roll into the sound.
"Cold Outside," for example, is a hopped-up country song celebrating cold weather that would be at home on a Trent Summar record (a high compliment, by the way). A country guitar turns up in the middle of the Irish punk stomp "Self Deprecated," and "Captains of Industry" goes back to Russian folk.
Lyrically, The Killigans are defiant champions of the working class or, to take the title of the opening cut, "Martyrs of the Lower Middle Class."
Sometimes that defiance takes the form of a fist-pumping anthem - like "New Revolution," a song about taking back pride and dignity that brings to mind The Clash. At other times, the defiance and disillusion is found in story songs.
"Whiskey and Gin," one of the record's gems, is a tale of an "outta luck kid" and a "white trash girl" who are married in a bar, then try to establish a life for themselves in a place where there's no one to pass "false judgment."
That story seems real. "Never on the Mend" clearly is real. It's an autobiographical family story of losing a farm, driving cattle in the Sandhills, getting drafted and fighting in World War II.
The disc ends with a swaying pub ballad anchored by Pat Nebesniak's accordion and ringing guitars. It tells of a guy on the day after a bad drunk, waking up to find his head gashed and his desk packed up at work, reeling into a "Liquor Store," and then apparently heading off to the movies.
I've listened to "Honor" a handful of times in the past week and am more impressed each time I hear it.