Dean Schaffer

Product Manager @YouTubeMusic. Former journalist and editor. Wannabe rockstar. Music, music, and miscellany.

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My Top 5 Concerts of 2017

One of my friends asked me when I’d be writing my customary “best of last year‘s concerts” post. After committing to do so, I realized I (sadly) haven’t done so in more than two years. While it’s too late for 2016, I figure the golden window of relevance hasn’t quite yet closed for 2017.

To read the rest, check out my original post on Medium here.

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Shooting at 23rd and South Van Ness


Pop pop pop. Pop.

Burnt rubber.


“I think I heard gunshots at South Van Ness and 23rd.”

“How many?”

“Two or three and then one more. Then I heard a car speed away.”

“What did it look like?”

“White, I think. Four-door sedan. Old-looking and geometric. Angular.”

“Did you hear anyone in distress?”

“No. I don’t think so.”


Flicker, flicker. One light on. Then another. Then another. Voices outside of homes.

A car with shattered windows across the street. A man laying on someone’s porch, surrounded by others.

Police cars. An ambulance. Yellow crime scene tape. Paramedics lifting the man off the ground and onto a stretcher. The man, his legs shaking uncontrollably under the stretcher’s blanket.

Flashlights as police search the area. For what? Blood? Bullet casings? Clues?

Who did this?

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Rx Bandits

This is perhaps (or definitely) a bit off topic from what I had planned to write here – mostly music, hence the cheeky title of this post – but something happened yesterday that I felt was important to write about.

I apparently have a small wart on the bottom of my foot. It’s not a big deal (I swear), and it’s not what this post is about.

This post is about what happened when I went to the pharmacy to pick up the prescription my doctor ordered for me.

“Oooh,” said the pharmacist, with a grimace on her face. “That’ll be thirteen fifty.”

“Like, thirteen dollars?” I asked.

“Thirteen hundred,” she replied.


I turned to her manager next to her.

“I know,” the manager said. “But believe me, I’ve seen worse.”


What makes this even more insane is a) this is a generic prescription and b) I have a great job with good health insurance. I happen to have what’s called a high-deductible...

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The Sounds and the Fury: Top 10 concerts in 2015


Those who know me well know that the line between music and the rest of my life is a blurry one. I’m constantly going to shows and sending around that latest and greatest track that’s got me ecstatic.

So when Bob Boilen of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts put together a list of his favorite 10 shows of 2015, I thought I would enjoy doing the same and sharing it with my friends.

While I can’t compete with his 506 shows (!), my 225 (or so) ain’t too shabby. Like him, I’m counting each artist as its own show, but you’ll find that our tastes diverge significantly. Where possible, I’ve included links to the performances so you can experience at least a little of what made them so special.

After my top 10, you’ll see the complete record of the shows I saw in 2015, listed chronologically.

Here’s to another few hundred in 2016. I hope you can join me!

1. Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires


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When I first created, I was a journalism grad student at Stanford, and my website became a place to showcase my articles and resume. I used a Wordpress template, kept it up to date for a short while, and then fiercely neglected it.

Years later, after I left journalism and embarked on a new career (in tech, like oh-so-many others), I decided the website wasn’t really serving much of a purpose anymore, and, inspired by a friend of mine, erased everything and switched from Wordpress to Svbtle. I wrote a few ideas for posts, brainstormed for a short while, and then, again, fiercely neglected it.

I thought often of posting something here but never knew quite where to start. When I’d want to write a story (usually a concert review), I’d generally go ahead and post it somewhere I got paid. It was awesome to have that freedom (luxury, you could even say), but it never felt...

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