While I've never played vapor live in front of an audience (other than a couple friends), I have had success with live setups including:
-Effects Pedals: Ditto Looper (Great for quick loops), Behringer TO-800 Distortion (mmnoise), Danelectro French Toast Octave Fuzz (mmmmmmnoise), Kokko Compressor (I usually put it at the end of a signal chain to even it out somewhat)
-Korg KP-3, great filters and amazing loop effects, and great XY controller for live fx
-Korg Monotron Delay, the synth itself isn't much good for much other than occasional spacey synth effects, but the delay processor is fucking gnarly.
-Boss SP-303 sampler, not so great for live sampling but if you have samples prerecorded on it the live effects and control are good
-Drums: I use a Boss DR-202 drum machine and LSDJ for Gameboy for drums, i find that having two drum sources allows you to do trippy things by switching between drums and having different effects on both sets of drums. also the lofi 202 and the 8bit LSDJ together give you a very good variety of drum samples
-Live Sample Sources (the best part): I found a Citizen mini tv at a goodwill and I'll sometimes use that at the beginning of a signal chain and put the looper and the kp3 after it to make weird loops out of whatever's on the air. I've also used a cassette player with any shitty warped badly-kept cassette in the same way.
In my eyes as long as you have some kind of sample player, whether the samples are recorded live or not, and some variety of effects (emphasis on delay and distortion), that's enough for live vapor. Extra synths and drum machines are great additions and can add a lot of flavor but you can create some cool stuff with just a sample and some effects.
Heres a vaporhop / hardvapor / whatever track i made live using LSDJ, DR-202, SP-303, Monotron Delay, KP-3, and Danelectro French Toast.
I jam out alone and play vaporwave live quite a bit, just for self entertainment. Generally my setup consists of a sp404, various effects pedals, drum machines, and sometimes a record player/cassette player.
I wanna revive this thread! I've been mulling over ideas for a for live setup for a while now. Ranging from a performance-art based set with mostly backing tracks and maybe some improvised noise ... to a straight up full band with synth, drums, horns, etc. It will probably end up being somewhere in between those two extremes.
If you are reading this and you play live, what is your setup like? I wanna know!
if you're using something like Serato DJ it would be hard to load your sample or the vapor track itself and play it from there. I use a Pioneer DDJ-SB3 for a lot of my beats, especially the tracks on my Should-Already-Be-Out-But-I'm-A-Lazy-Fuck Laundromat EP. It sucks dick, but the soundcard's garbage in a way that fits well with lowpass filters. A lot of my songs sound like something from a beat-up cassette for that exact reason, because of it's inherent hiss and reactions to certain frequencies coming from serato.