Lights! Coils! Music!

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The crew of ArcAttack will bring their lights, Tesla coils and plenty of action to New Mexico Tech’s Macey Center at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 30, in a show sure to spark the interest of young visiting scientists and their families, as well as anyone who enjoys live entertainment.

ArcAttack, creator of the original “singing Tesla coils,” as seen on “America’s Got Talent,” is making its first-ever appearance as part of the Performing Arts Series (PAS) in a high-energy show that combines science with music and electronic rhythms.

“PAS is thrilled to bring this superlative, high-tech show to Socorro and New Mexico Tech during the state Science Fair weekend,” said PAS Director Ronna Kalish.

“The performance is sure to draw its share of New Mexico Tech students along with Science Fair participants and their families,” Kalish said. “This is definitely a show that turns science and music into a unique form of high-energy entertainment.”

The members of ArcAttack use two custom-engineered, hand-built Tesla coils to throw out electrical arcs up to a distance of 12 feet, accompanied by a sound reminiscent of the early days of the synthesizer.

A robotic drum provides percussion, while ArcAttack’s six members churn out rhythmic instrumental melodies. Meanwhile, high-power LEDs flash bright colors with the stroke of each mechanically actuated stick.

The resultant sound has been described as a mix of drum loops, rock, electronica and indie, served with a splash of punk a dash of metal and a side of pop.

If that isn’t enough, look for the master of ceremonies to work the crowd by walking through half-million-volt sparks wearing a chain mail Faraday suit.

Kalish explained that the coils are named for Nikola Tesla (1856–1943), a Serbian-American inventor and electrical engineer best known for developing the modern alternating current (AC) electrical supply system. “His patents and research also formed the basis of what became wireless communication and the radio,” she said.

Tesla was quite famous in his time, and gained a reputation in popular culture as the stereotypical “mad scientist,” living alone in a New York City hotel and dying with little money to his name.

However, in 1960, magnetic field B, the tesla, in the International System of Units, was named for him.

Sponsors for ArcAttack are the city of Socorro, Associated Universities, Inc.-National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), Aerojet, EMRTC, Survice Engineering Co., the New Mexico Tech Graduate Student Association (GSA) and Best Western Premier.

Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for seniors, $8 for youths 17 and under, and are available at the N.M. Tech Cashier’s Office (second floor of Fidel Center), Brownbilt Shoes and Western Wear, Burrito Tyme Drive-up or at the door.