Surging with energy

Jacob Lane · Wednesday, January 29, 2014
The WL Community Center was filled with an electric energy similar to the home team taking the football field for homecoming as local pop-punk group 'Exit, Emergency' performed in front of a group of 50 youth on Friday night, Jan. 17.

"We really hope the audience gets the feeling of a fun and welcoming environment. We love to have fun at our shows and we really hope everyone has a good time with us," said the band.

Exit, Emergency is a home brewed group, consisting of West Liberty guitarist and lead vocalist Brian Martinez, 20, bassist David Martinez, 19, and guitarist Kyler Meyers, 23, along with Nichols guitarist and vocalist Thomas Allen, 21. Right now Wyatt Timberlake, 21, of Ottumwa is filling in for the drummer.

The group specializes in the genre of pop-punk, a fusion of pop music with rock that's become quite prevalent in the local music scene over the past few years. In fact, Post Season, a group from Altoona, Pa. performed before Exit, Emergency on Saturday night, pouring out a similar musical stream.

"To those who don't know what pop-punk is, imagine pop and rock music, mixed with an alternative feel," said the band, "It's a combination of Foo Fighters, Bowling for Soup, New Found Glory, The Offspring and Good Charlotte."

Standing in on the Exit, Emergency concert, one can see the group enjoys the spotlight. They kick, they jump, they surf the crowd, while keeping the music going. In a world that can be dominated by subpar performers looking for fifteen minutes of fame, the West Liberty group definitely stands tall.

Their music is, to put it simply, the hopeless romanticism of high school spirit beaten back by the raucous rhythm of a punked-out past and promising future.

Oh yeah, it's also loud.

The group originated in 2009 when Brian, Thomas and Kyler played at West Liberty's variety show in a cover group they called '3's a crowd.'

"Kyler graduated and moved to Oskaloosa, and whenever he came back we continued to do band stuff together, just for the pure fun of it. We used to be a band called 'The Bare Minimum,' but due to member changes and a different style music, we decided to start over under a different name," said the group.

On the day of their first official show in the new band, the three were joined by David Martinez. He had to learn all of the bass lines on the way to the performance, and has been a part of the group since.

In 2012, Exit, Emergency officially began with the premier of its first album "Love Endures Delay," which was written and recorded at the United Action for Youth Center in Iowa City.

In 2013, it produced "Getting Back My Fall Semester (This is me fighting back)." Early this week, it put out "In Memory of Who I Used to be," the group's first professionally recorded and produced album.

"Lyrically it's upfront and honest, it captures the emotion of true-life events that people can relate to," said the group. "Creating the EP took a few months, we started writing for it and getting ideas at the end of the summer when we came back from tour, but a lot of it was written late nights over the week we were in the studio."

Their 2013 summer tour took Exit, Emergency all over the nation, including St. Louis, Louisville, Indianapolis, Virginia Beach, Atlantic City, Brooklyn, Cambridge and Cleveland. They also played around Iowa, including Des Moines, the Quad Cities, Muscatine, Tipton and more.

The tour has been the biggest highlight of the group's career. They slept in vehicles and on hardwood floors to keep up with the strenuous performance schedule.

However, wherever they perform, West Liberty is etched into the band's persona.

"We've really grown and have really appreciated the support our hometown of West Liberty has given us," said the group. "We all grew up in the city…and have been friends over the years, and just decided we would embark on this crazy journey together. We love playing in West Liberty, and continually push to have our friends in bands from around the state play here with us."

As for the name of the group (yes, there really is a comma right in the middle of Exit, Emergency), they picked it from a song title from the New Jersey band, Houston Calls.

"Thomas asked the lead singer of the band if we could use the song title as our name and he was totally cool with it. Since then the name just stuck with us," said the group.

To learn more about Exit, Emergency and its music, visit or visit its Facebook page.
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