Readers respond to a badass, bass-playin' mom and a plan to build a second homeless shelter


Moms are the best. Food when you're born, soup when you're sick, rent money when you're low, and cogent advice when you need it. But until July 14 I'd never met a mom who holds it down so steady on the bass.

The son in the band Balonely, Norman Robbins, is in his early 20s. He looks like he's 15 and controls a stage like he came into this world holding a Stratocaster. Intricate pacing and clean fast picking, interspersed with precise fervent strumming. He leans into the microphone as his vocals change from talk-singing to powerful wails and a deeper tone than you might expect.

Opposite of him is his mother Kristin Robbins, whose admiration for her son is palpable and catching. Thankfully she herself is a more than an adept bass player. As she holds down the pocket, Norman turns clever corners of songs and has a way of commanding the audience that many with years more experience can't muster. They're filled out by masterful drumming from Cody Brooks and together the three of them create a sound bigger than other trios bring, and cleaner and crisper too.

On a night at Neato Burrito a crowd of all ages gathered for a show that delighted. Highlighting the set, Balonely, its young and exciting lead man Norman, and a sense motherly love took my weekend trip to Spokane up a few notches.

There are a lot of dad rockers out there, but you'd be a fool to miss this mother and son rock out the next time they play. Much respect.

Jeremy Spaulding,
Missoula, Mont.

The scene outside Spokane's House of Charity. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
Daniel Walters photo
The scene outside Spokane's House of Charity.

Readers respond to a story about a plan to implement a second homeless shelter outside of the downtown core (7/12/18):

Mike Patton: It sounds like they are caving to the city's "out of sight, out of mind" model for the homeless solution.

Julie Watson: I'm not sure if a second shelter is really going to help the problem when buses of homeless people are coming from the west side. I also wonder if some accountability like the Union Gospel Mission requires is necessary! Homelessness is a problem, but it also a choice for some people, not all. ♦

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