Kings of Thrash – Warrendale, PA – 2/28/2023


Jergel’s in Warrendale, PA opened its doors to thrash metal fans representing a wide-span of ages to catch the union of former Megadeth members Jeff Young on guitar and David Ellefson on bass with their new band Kings of Thrash, which features Chaz Leon on vocals, guitar and Fred Aching on drums.

The evening was kicked off around 8pm by a new independent thrash band local to Pittsburgh called Bloody Run who were submerged in darkness and red light as they grinded through some hard-hitting originals.

Hatriot took the stage next offering support for Kings of Thrash for the entirety of this US run. Hatriot began as the project of Exodus frontman Steve “Zetro” Souza and guitarist Kosta Varvakis over a decade ago.  Souza’s sons have carried on the torch, and are joined by Kosta and Miguel Esparza on guitars.  Cody Souza leads the band centerstage on bass with brother Nick hitting hard behind the kit.

The band’s brief set included an ode to Exodus as well as a hand-full of originals from the band’s own catalog but unlike last year’s Bay Strikes Back thrash-fest at Stage AE, where Exodus performed with Death Angel and Testament, Jergel’s would not permit a mosh pit of any kind. Security was tight with safety as a top priority, and the only pit we saw was the small one behind the rarely-used barricade for us photographers.

While Kings of Thrash brings together Jeff Young and Dave Ellefson to cover the Killing Is My Business…and Business Is Good and So Far, So Good…So What albums in their entirety, this project is just getting started.  Their set included a new original entitled “Bridges Burned” which was first unveiled at King of Clubs in Columbus, Ohio last month, and they have signed a worldwide deal with Cleopatra Records. So,fans can expect more originals in addition to the  live CD/DVD package called Best of the West…Live at the Whisky A Go Go which will be released on March 24.

The 17-song set album and video was recorded and filmed live at the legendary Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood, CA on October 15, 2022 and also features performances with former Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland. Young tells us that this show was a sellout like the venue had never seen, and we are looking forward to seeing the energy of such a crowd in that footage.

For those not familiar with Chaz Leon, he hails from the Megadeth tribute Woke up Dead, offering instant familiarity with the band’s arsenal along with a charisma and delivery that kept us engaged throughout the evening.  And, our followers might recognize Fred Aching from our recent coverage of Rokisland Festival where Fred could be found performing with the Bulletboys and jamming with his Dead Groove Band bandmate Holly West at the Friday VIP event at Sunset pier. While you may be thinking that a member of the Bulletboys seems out of place in a thrash band, we will remind you that Ira Black is also part of the one-time glam band’s current line-up. Your concerns will quickly disappear when you hear Fred play, especially during his stick-twirling and heavy hitting drum solo which left his long locks sticking to his face.

For those of you who caught onto Megadeth in later years like myself, and never caught these two live together, I promise that you will instantly be drawn in.  Jeff Young kicks off the show with some two handed tapping and quick hands as he’s joined by partner in crime Dave Ellefson with the heavy groove of the bass.  We enjoyed a few surprises along the way before the night concluded with one of my personal favorites “Dawn Patrol” which was followed by an explosive rendition of “Peace Sells.”


3/1 — Buffalo, NY — Town Ballroom
3/3 — Poughkeepsie, NY — The Chance
3/4 — Sayreville, NJ — Starland Ballroom
3/5 — Harrisburg, PA — Midtown Arts Center
3/7 — Ardmore, PA — Ardmore Music Hall
3/8 — New York, NY — Gramercy Theatre
3/10 — Charlottesville, VA — Jefferson Theatre
3/11 — Greensboro, NC — Hangar 1819
3/12 — Asheville, NC — The Orange Peel
3/14 — Charleston, SC — Music Farm
3/15 — Atlanta, GA — The Masquerade (Hell)

The THRASHIN’ USA tour is about halfway through with stops in the Midwest, East Coast, and southeastern part of the USA through March 15. VIP packages will be available on all shows at this location. Fans can expect more performances including some international dates.

The pre-order can be found at Best of the West…Live at The Whisky A Go Go.

Follow us @ThePureRockShop for more local concerts including Queensrÿche’s upcoming performance with Marty Friedman and Trauma at The Roxian on April 5, 2023.  As well as recent coverage of The Guess Who , The Winery Dogs, and Enuff Z’ Nuff. More upcoming shows on our radar include Ugly Kid Joe, Riki Rachtman, and That Arena Rock Show. Follow for festival coverage including Monsters of Rock Cruise and M3 Rock Festival back to back this spring.

Recap and Live Photos by Editor and founder Kara Marie Uhrlen for The Pure Rock Shop.  Posted on 3/1/2023.