Five Card Draw: The University’s constant but ever-changing cover band

Piper Jourdan, Contributing Writer

The University of Alabama has spawned numerous student-led bands, one of which is Five Card Draw. This alternative rock band, has been student-led since its formation in 2015, changing from The Cards to the band it is now. Chances are, you’ve seen them at one of their favorite bars, Rhythm & Brews, or even playing at a date party on campus. 

In 2019, when the original band members were graduating after four years, they began a tradition of recruiting new members as they graduate to keep the band student-led and at the University.  

Five Card Draw has four current members: Holden Kelly, Dylan Meyer, Katie Prewitt and Murphy Smith; as well as Andrew McNeil, a prospective member to take over for Dylan Meyer, the bass guitar player, after he graduates this spring. 

While their usual covers are from the Red Hot Chili Peppers or the Foo Fighters, they also play Bowling For Soup and occasionally Phoebe Bridgers by popular request.  

“If you want to hear a band play the Red Hot Chili Peppers, that’s us,” Kelly, a sophomore majoring in finance, said about the band’s unique shows.  

However, all band members agreed that their least favorite request was “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd.  

Prewitt, a senior majoring in biology, said the band can be found playing these hits in Alabama towns like Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Huntsville and even Dallas, Texas. They’re most frequently found in bars around Tuscaloosa like Red Shed, Moe’s Original BBQ, Druid City Social, as well as fraternities and sororities. 

While performing in Tuscaloosa bars, they often find themselves playing for fans they know as well as other college students they might not. Kelly said the interactions with fans are “fulfilling in a way.”   

“To have someone you don’t know come up to you and just be like ‘Hey, I know who you are,’ like you know who I am, and you know what I do and where I’m going to be Friday. It really is fulfilling,” Kelly said. 

Not only does playing for an audience motivate them, but Dylan Meyer, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, said that this is his way of having fun. 

“This is our social life. This is what we do,” Kelly said.  

The sense of community within the band is apparent on stage every weekend. Prewitt said the band loves each other and wouldn’t want to play with anyone else. 

Between band dinners before heading to gigs, Kelly and McNeil living together, and staying out until four in the morning, the band’s dedication shows. 

Prewitt said the band is the most important thing to him “besides getting [his] degree.” 

Max Hawkins, a senior majoring in computer engineering and a fan of the band, said he likes the band because they’re high energy. 

“Five Card Draw has an energy about them,” Hawkins said. “No matter how many people are in the crowd, they put on an expressive show.” 

This energy is not only in the way they play but also in the way they interact with the crowd, such as Meyer performing a backbend while playing on stage or Kelly signing set lists for fans. 

While Tuscaloosa has a wide variety of bands, Five Card Draw has undeniable appeal for their energy and their musicianship, but especially their tie to the University. Their Capstone tradition makes them one of the more memorable bands in town.  

To see a list of upcoming shows or to book them for a private event, you can find them on Instagram.