Do you hear it?

Amid the electric guitars, samplers, turntables, soulful crooning and cheering crowds at local clubs, there is the definite sound of a music scene with a buzz.

The Bay Area is more than a tech capital these days; it has also emerged as a hotspot in the music world. And by hot, we mean scalding, with scads of promising acts rising through the ranks, selling out top local venues and drawing national attention.

"I think it is the Bay Area's time again," says Sherry Wasserman, president of Berkeley-based concert promoter Another Planet Entertainment, which books Oakland's Fox Theater, Berkeley's Greek Theatre and several other venues. "It's unbelievable the amount of talent coming out of the Bay Area right now."

G-Eazy performs in concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)
G-Eazy performs in concert at The Fillmore in San Francisco, Calif., on Wednesday, March 5, 2014. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) ( RAY CHAVEZ )

The latest indication of this is the prestigious South by Southwest music festival running Tuesday through Sunday in Austin, Texas. It's not unusual for Bay Area bands to be well-represented at the annual festival, which was created as a spotlight for emerging acts as well as established performers with new music to pitch. But this year's contingent is the strongest in quite some time.

Among the scores of local performers headed to Texas, more than 40 are slated to play the kinds of official showcases and high-profile clubs reserved for "it" bands and "buzz" acts. One artist, Oakland rapper G-Eazy, is even the focus of a presentation on how he has reached "near-superstardom" without the support of a major record label.

Other top acts at South by Southwest include San Francisco dance-rock champs The Soft White Sixties; San Francisco electronic music guru Giraffage; Iamsu! and other members of the Richmond-based hip-hop crew The HBK Gang; Oakland R&B crooner Adrian Marcel; and blazing hot electronic act The Chain Gang of 1974, fronted by San Jose native Kamtin Mohager. Meanwhile, several acts not headed to South by Southwest are still drawing a buzz, including Lafayette alt-country star Nicki Bluhm, San Francisco ambient-music artist Tycho and San Jose/Santa Cruz electronic dance music DJ Bassnectar, among many others.

Different scene

The Bay Area has certainly been a "scene" before, notably during the psychedelic rock explosion of the 1960s and again in the '90s, when alternative rock acts like Green Day, Third Eye Blind, Counting Crows and Smash Mouth emerged. But this is different. For one thing, the industry has changed. Probably gone forever are the days when a band breaks through and its hometown get inundated by agents and record label scouts looking for similar acts. For the most part, artists have to break through on their own now. The other difference is that the Bay Area is making its mark not in one genre but across the board: hip-hop, retro-rock, R&B, electronic, and more.

"It's not Seattle -- where you had the grunge movement," says Another Planet's Allen Scott, who books for San Francisco's Independent and other venues. "There is a broad range of great acts in the Bay Area. They are all so different. That's what's so exciting -- they aren't copying each other."

The Bay Area is famous for its metrological micro climates. It has them in music, too.

For instance, The Soft White Sixties, Mikal Cronin and The Fresh and Onlys are among the leaders of a retro-rock-inspired movement.

"(They) have created a pretty identifiable sound and scene that is authentically San Francisco, with elements of garage and punk and psych and pop that come together in amazing ways," says Kevin Arnold, the founder of the local Noise Pop music festival.

Rising hip-hop

Meanwhile, the hip-hop scene seems hotter than at any time since the "hyphy" movement broke out of the East Bay in the late 1990s. Oakland's G-Eazy, in particular, is creating a stir.

"The Bay is really strong right now," says the rapper, born Gerald Earl Gillum, who sold out the 1,100-capacity Fillmore earlier this month. "There's been a strong (hip-hop) scene here that supports itself, but it's good to see that now getting attention across the country. There's just a good energy in the Bay Area, creatively."

The Bay Area's tech boom is likely fueling the music scene. There are lots of young people with money to burn settling in the Bay Area, and they are headed to music clubs and helping create a buzz for their favorite acts. And there is a good mix of venues ranging from 300-1,200 seats that is a favorable outlet for emerging bands. For instance, the 500-capacity Independent in San Francisco says it sold out 21 of 22 shows in February, with many of the sellouts being local acts. Along with G-Eazy, Tycho and Bluhm have also sold out the famed Fillmore recently. And Beats Antique, a Bay Area electronic act, filled the 2,800-seat Fox Theater in Oakland.

"There are great venues and great fans," says Soft White Sixties vocalist Octavio Genera, who adds that there's a certain swagger to the local music scene these days. "It feels really good to be part of a city that has good music going on. Especially when you go to, like, South by Southwest, there's something that comes with saying that you're a band from the Bay Area. There's a good association.

"Touring around -- the East Coast, Texas or wherever -- it's cool to be a band from the Bay Area."

Follow Jim Harrington at http://twitter.com/jimthecritic, www.facebook.com/jim.bayareanews and http://blogs.mercurynews.com/aei/category/concerts.